Willett grabs double trap top five on debut

Published 11 August 2016 (AEDT)

SHOOTING: Making his OIympic debut in Rio, double trap shooter James Willett was chuffed with making the final and grabbing a fifth place finish.

The youngster performed strongly in the morning’s qualification to make the final, only to be out-shot by gold medallist Fehaid Aldeehani (IOA), silver medallist Marco Innocenti (ITA) and bronze medallist Steven Scott (GBR).

“I was pretty happy with my first Olympics, 20 years-old so, it was a great experience today,” Willett said.

“I missed out on the medals but I’ll take it home and work on it for Tokyo (2020).”

The Mulwala athlete, who trains on a range specially built on his farm on the border of Victoria and New South Wales, shot a perfect 30 in the first round, 24 in the 2nd, another perfect 30 in the 3rd, 29 in the 4th and 27th in the 5th, for a total of 140 to be the equal highest qualifier for the final.

“The 30s got me into the finals and I’ve learnt about from the experience here. I’ll just take it home and work on it from here.”

It was a hard fought final, with barely a shot difference between the six athletes. Willett missed four shots in the final to enter a shoot-off for the bronze medal match. He then had two shots against Great Britain’s Scott and Tim Kneale, where he missed one to walk away in fifth place.

The youngster was philosophical about the loss, not laying blame on the windy conditions or nerves.

“You only have to miss a couple and you miss the medals and that’s just the way it is. There’s nothing to blame, just me. Conditions were tough, but yeah just wanted enough to get in the gold medal match, not much I can do enough about.”

And while he might not get to take home a medal, Willett maintained his country boy happiness at being on the world’s biggest sporting stage.

“Probably two years ago I wouldn’t have expected to make the final at the Olympics but here I am today making the final so I’ll just try and improve on it.

“It’s a big mental side of the sport I’ll take home from here, good to make the final I was pleased with the end result.

“There was a lot more pressure here than any other competition I’ve ever been to.

He now has his eye on the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, before the next Olympics.

“I haven’t been competing for even two years in this event, so it gives me a lot of confidence going into Tokyo and throughout the next four years.”

But first he’ll be off to check out the other Australian in action in Rio.

“I’ll head around and view some other sports, cheer on some of other Aussies it will be a good experience for the next two weeks.”

Annie Kearney

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