Dubai: After ruling the world of shooting for close to four decades, there is little left to challenge British shooter George Digweed.
A multiple world and European champion with an amazing array of 22 world titles — 11 in Sporting Clays, ten in the FITASC category and one in the Compak discipline — but Digweed is aware that his best days are now behind him.
“I’ve had my time. In six weeks’ time I am going to be 50. I’ve won 22 world championships and if I don’t win another shoot it still means I’ve done my bit,” Digweed told Gulf News on the sidelines of last week’s Nad Al Sheba Sporting Clays Championship.
“I would absolutely love to step out and lend any sort of assistance the boss [Shaikh Ahmad Hasher Al Maktoum] would need to take this sport to the next level. This would only be for the sake of our sport. To be able to tie up with Shaikh Ahmad and help promote the sport here would be a lovely way to go forward.”
Born in Hastings, Sussex, Digweed started shooting at the age of 12 after he was given a .410 shotgun by his grandfather.
He won his 16th world title at the World Sporting Championship in Texas, US, in April 2009 — an event created in 2007 to find out who is the best all-round shooting champion in the world.
In October 2011, while being filmed for a programme for Fieldsports Channel TV and using standard cartridges, he broke a clay at 130 yards, breaking his own previous record set in America of 118 yards.
And Digweed was all praise for the organisation of the inaugural Nad Al Sheba event that concluded on Wednesday. “This competition is going a long way in taking our sport to a different level. This is such an incredible event and I have never seen anything like this before in my career as a shooter. It now just needs to be punched home,” he said.
“This event is absolutely fantastic and it makes the sport as professional as it should be. It is great what he [Shaikh Ahmad] has done here. It will create a legacy going forward and this will be hard to be matched anytime in the near future.
“It can get better by fine-tuning a little bit here and there, but anything as a first event doesn’t quite run as you would want it to. I am more than sure that these minor things will always be looked at during the course of the de-briefing. I think next year they will be looking to find out what they can do more and do better.
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and I believe Dubai is ready for the long haul.”
Did you know?
* George Digweed has an entry in Wisden, the cricket almanac, for an extraordinary achievement? His bowling figures in a Sussex league cup match were 5 overs, 5 maidens, 8 wickets
* Digweed and his wife Kate run a commercial shoot at Owley Farm, Wittersham, Kent
* Digweed is the brother of the renowned DJ and record producer John Digweed
* Digweed’s first memorable competition win was the Home International Skeet Championships in 1986
* In July 2010, Digweed became the first sportsman to win a world title in four different decades — the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s — when he won the FITASC World Championship