Royal honour for shooter

England's most decorated Commonwealth Games competitor Mick Gault added a very special medal to his growing collection as he was made an OBE by Prince Charles.

England's most decorated Commonwealth Games competitor Mick Gault added a very special medal to his growing collection as he was made an OBE by Prince Charles.

The pistol shooter admitted to a range of emotions from fear to nerves to delight during his big day at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday where he was honoured for his services to competition shooting.

Mr Gault, 53, of Dereham, said: “It is a different sort of an award to the others. It is not for taking part in sport but for the culmination of everything I have done. It is nice to get the recognition from the country for what I have achieved and is a big plus for my sport.”

He added: “Shooting is not quite as politically incorrect as it was.”

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Mr Gault was joined at the royal event by his wife Jan, mother Betty and daughter Clare.

“The medal is nice and shiny!” he joked and said: “It has been a real day to remember.”

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Mr Gault spoke to Prince Charles for about a minute about shooting and explained to him that he would not be competing at this year's Olympic Games - but fully intends to be at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Dehli.

The prince asked if there was “new blood” coming through in shooting - to which Mr Gault replied that there wasn't, mainly due to the restrictions in the shooting ban.

In the four Commonwealth Games he has taken part in, Mr Gault has got a haul of 15 medals - nine gold, three silver and three bronze.

He now has the all-time total of 18 individual medals in his sights.

Mr Gault joked that he already had “two legs and my backside on the plane” to Dehli for the 2010 Games.

By aiming for four disciplines he has the potential for eight medals and if Mr Gault overtakes the current record he may think about calling it a day.

“If I can walk away with 19 medals in total in my career that might be a nice time to say 'that will do.'”

Mr Gault continues to prove himself at the highest level and has just returned from winning gold for Team England in the ISAS free pistol event in Dortmund.

“My training for that was abysmal but it all came right in the competition,” said Mr Gault, who celebrated with champagne and pizza!

“I got champagne for winning but we couldn't find anywhere to eat so we got some pizzas in.”

“Pistol shooting is being shown in the greatest light it has ever been in and getting the OBE will take a lot of living up to.”

Mr Gault recently had dinner with the British Shooting Sport Council - where the guest of honour was the Duke of Edinburgh - and he said they had been thrilled at him being made an OBE.

“They are absolutely over the moon that a pistol shooter had been given this award after all the hard work I have put into the sport. I just did not realise what it meant to everybody,” said Mr Gault, who stressed that he remained really proud to be from Dereham and appreciates all the support he has had.

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