Natural ability of young gun Georgia Moule means more world titles are in sights
It could be argued that a broken hand helped shape the sporting destiny of Georgia Moule.
One of the country’s rising stars in clay pigeon shooting, it was not always a natural fit for the 21-year-old.
A first introduction to shooting did not yield instant attraction, but when misfortune befell on the football field, Moule turned her attentions elsewhere.
Moule’s father used to shoot before family commitments took precedence, but he took his then 12-year-old daughter to try the discipline at a friends’ farm.
“I had a go but wasn’t convinced at the time,” says Moule. “It didn’t hurt, I had all the protection. It was just the sound more than anything.”
Maybe you could say that fate then intervened.
“I have always liked doing sport and I used to play football to a high level for Cambridge City but I broke my hand and being a goalkeeper that was really important,” she explains.
“I hate sitting around and not doing something so I got hooked on shooting.”
It would be fair to say that Moule has never looked back.
Last year alone, she defended her British Open crown and won a total of nine gold medals, but the piece de resistance was helping a young England team triumph at the World Clay Pigeon Shooting Championships.
While her path into the sport may not have immediately suggested it, once Moule got to grips with the 20-bore semi-automatic shotgun a clear aptitude for it shone through.
“One of my dad’s friends said I had a natural ability and that I should do the England selection shoot,” she says. “I was only 14 so I didn’t think I was at that level.
“I went and did the selection shoot and got in the team.”
Having represented her country for the past six years, it has led to some globe-trotting for Moule, with competitions in Dubai, Texas, Hungary, Portugal and Cyprus, to name but a few.
The event in the United Arab Emirates state, organised by Dubai crown prince Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum who was also coach of London Olympics double trap gold medallist Peter Wilson, opened numerous doors as well.
With prize money available, Moule finished 15th overall in her first year and then eighth in the second year, which enabled her to buy a car.
Equally as important though, was the contacts made.
“The second year I met John Bidwell, who is now my coach; I had no coaching to that point,” says Moule.
“John is extremely famous in shooting and I had always looked up to him and wanted to be like him.
“Over the four days, he was coming to watch me on my lay-out.
“When the competition finished, he was staying at the same hotel as me. He came over and said he had been watching me all week and I had a really natural ability and shoot in the same style so he said he wanted to coach and sponsor me.
“It’s not been full on coaching but I shoot with him quite regularly.”
The event in Dubai was something of an anomaly though, as there is little prize money available in shooting.
The rewards come through the classes, which mean anyone can enter, while the categories hold prizes such as trophies, cartridges and in some cases new guns.
And Moule does not shoot the two Olympic disciplines, Olympic skeet and Olympic trap.
The Willingham-based competitor takes part in three disciplines – Compak, English Sporting and FITASC Sporting.
“Between the three I shoot, there are minor differences,” she explains. “But between those three and the Olympic disciplines there are big differences.
“Every stand is different and every shoot is different and Olympic disciplines they are the same. It’s the same 25 every 25. I do a little bit of Olympic trap as it’s really good for the timings in the winter.”
The greatest achievement for Moule so far was the ICTSF World Sporting Clay Shooting Championships in Buckinghamshire last year, as together with Hannah Gibson and Emma Stacey, England ended a long domination by the Americans in the team competition.
“The Americans have such a strong team as they are professional and get paid to shoot and as for us, it’s a hobby,” said Moule, who works at Royal Papworth Hospital.
“We were always encouraging each other and because we are such good friends it really helped.
“I didn’t shoot very well for the first day. Emma shot consistent. Good first day, bad second day and vice-versa for Hannah.
“Someone came running over to us and shouted you are sitting in gold medal place. I think for the last 20 years, maybe longer, the Americans had been unbeaten.”
Moule, who is part of Everyone Active’s Sporting Champions scheme and does her fitness training at their Cambourne Fitness and Sports Centre, starts the year with modest objectives.
The primary aim is to improve her shooting average as it is an indicator of the progression being made, although this season there is a bigger target.
“The worlds in Ireland will also be big for me,” she says. “I’m going to be travelling to many different countries competing this coming year so 2019 is set to be a really exciting year.”