Willett in box seat

By Jamie Lowe

James Willett has positioned himself to win back-to-back Olympic Games selection in men’s trap following the first two of four nomination events for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The Mulwala-based Deniliquin Clay Target Club member is currently on 248 points following strong performances at the Commonwealth and National titles at the Newcastle Lake Macquarie Clay Target Club earlier this month.

Willett managed to come away with both the Commonwealth and National title wins, claiming high gun honours at the National titles event.

The win saw the 24 year-old claim back-to-back National title wins, a rare feat for any shooter

Willett said despite holding such a big lead, he can not rest on his laurels.

‘‘Winning back-to-back National titles is quite surreal,’’ he said.

‘‘While I’ve managed to win both events and get the lead, there is a lot of hard work still to come.

‘‘I still have an event in Melbourne on February 28 and 29 before a Sydney event on the second weekend of March.

‘‘My main goal (on the journey to qualifying for the Olympic Games) was to get a good start and I’ve done that part.

‘‘Now I aim to win the rest of the events to help get me back to the Olympics.’’

Only two men will make the eventual Olympic team, which will be announced in late March, with Willett holding a 12 point lead ahead of third place.

If selected for Tokyo, it will be his second Olympics appearance after competing at Rio in 2016, and finishing fifth overall in double trap.

Second placed Thomas Grice (242 points) looks likely to qualify alongside Willett.

In his career so far, Willett has earned 13 medals overall — seven gold and three each of silver and bronze.

He was also a member of the Australian team at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018, where he placed sixth in the double trap.

‘‘It’s a different feeling when representing your country,’’ he said.

‘‘I always feel very proud when wearing the Australian jacket and you always want to put your best effort forward for your country.

‘‘The bigger the event though, the more you feel the pressure.

‘‘I won’t get much of break between now and the end of the Olympic Games, with my training schedule and various events.

‘‘But I’ll look to come back to domestic events following the Olympics.’’