Yarrawonga Chronicle

James do us proud

- BY JARED LOUGHNAN

Mulwala’s young gun James Willett will start his Tokyo Olympic Games campaign today Wednesday, July 28.

Willett has Olympic gold medal firmly in his sights despite an interrupte­d year of COVID lockdowns and a just handful of events.

“My training has gone well, and I am ready to go,” Willett said just before he flew out last week for his second Olympic Games after competing in Rio.

Proud mum Dionne said her son has remained very positive after an interrupte­d year due to the COVID pandemic.

“His preparatio­n has been going to plan and he has had tremendous support from the local community.”

Dionne admits being “extremely nervous” herself and will go to work and try to avoid watching James’ qualifying event next Wednesday, but should James make the finals she will be on the couch at home with family glued to the television.

Coach and mentor Russell Mark OAM, a six-time Olympian, said the local sharp-shooter is “a big chance” of bringing home a medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Mark believes Willett is the next big thing in the sport of shooting in Australia since Olympic champion Michael Diamond.

The Olympic gold medallist was all praise for Willett who has been focusing on giving himself the best chance to realise his gold medal dream at his custom-built shooting range on the family farm in Mulwala since the postponeme­nt of the games last year.

Mark, who will also be commentati­ng the shooting events for Channel 7, told the Yarrawonga Chronicle recently that Willett is a good chance to make the final six competitor­s in both his single trap discipline (Wednesday, July 28 and Thursday, July 29) and, also the mixed doubles trap with Laetisha Scanlon (Saturday, July 31).

“I rate him the best prospect in the sport since Michael Diamond OAM (a dual Olympic medallist) and is on his way to maybe being the best ever in Australia,” Mark said.

No Australian male shooter has won an Olympic shooting gold medal since Diamond collected his second trap title in Sydney 20 years ago, but Willett can already be mentioned in the same sentence.

Willett shot a perfect men’s qualifying score of 125 out of 125 at a World Cup meeting in Mexico in 2019. Diamond is the only other Australian to achieve that feat.

“He did well in his first Olympics and has gone on from there winning world championsh­ip events,” Mark said.

Mark also believes Willett is a very good chance in the mixed doubles trap event with fellow team member Laetisha Scanlon.

“They are a great pair and click well together. They won the world championsh­ip and have fellow Australian team members Tom Price and Penny Smith pushing them also.”

There are several shooting events scheduled for live “free to air” viewing on Channel 7’s main channel, but the best way to watch James shooting “live” will be via the Channel 7plus app. https://7plus.com.au/olympics

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 ??  ?? James Willett with proud parents Arthur and Dionne who will be nervously cheering on their son from their family home on the farm near Mulwala.
James Willett with proud parents Arthur and Dionne who will be nervously cheering on their son from their family home on the farm near Mulwala.

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