#AllezAUS 'Let's Go Australia'
Event: Men's Trap, Double Trap, Mixed Trap Team
Olympic History: Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020
Coach: Russell Mark
Year Born: 1995
State Born: Victoria
Growing up on a farm in Mulwala, New South Wales, James Willett started competitive clay shooting at the age of 14. Introduced to the sport through school, he practiced at the Corowa Clay Target Club and quickly advanced in the rankings.
Willett began competing in the double trap discipline at the beginning of 2015 and upstaged many of his more fancied rivals around the world during his opening year in the sport. Competing at his first-ever World Cup, he shot a junior world record in qualifying with 142/150 targets and just missed out on bronze in a shoot-off.
Willett secured an Olympic quota position for Australia at the 2015 Oceania Championships before claiming his first World Cup victory when he won the Rio 2016 test event.
Making his Olympic debut in Rio, Willett moved through to the semi-final after finishing tied with Germany’s Andres Low as the pair shot 140/150 to both set a new Olympic record. Willett then shot 26/30 to enter a shoot-off to get into the bronze medal match but missed on his second shot to finish the event in 5th.
Willett bounced back at the end of 2016 season and won his maiden World Cup Final when he overcame USA’s Jeffrey Holguin 28 hits to 27 in the gold medal match.
He finished sixth at the 2018 Commonwealth Games but was back on top in 2019 when he equalled the World Record on his way to winning trap gold at the Acapulco World Cup. That same year he achieved a No.1 ranking, and with Laetisha Scanlan won mixed trap team gold at the 2019 World Championships.
Willett won the 2020 Commonwealth Championships which doubled as Australia’s first Olympic selection event. His overall performance in the four-round series put him seven points clear of nearest rival Thomas Grice and secured his Tokyo selection.
At Tokyo 2020 Willett finished 21st in the men’s trap and was placed 7th in the trap mixed team where he partnered Scanlan.
Coached by Olympic gold medallist Russell Mark, Willett enjoyed a successful 2022 international Teams season collecting two gold, two silver and a bronze medal in ISSF World Cup mixed trap team and men’s trap team events. Gold medals were earned with Penny Smith in Changwon, Korea and with Scanlan in Baku, Azerbaijan.
In 2023, Willett earned individual podium placings when he came second at the ISSF World Cup competition in Almaty, Kazakhstan and third in the ISSF World Cup competition in Cairo, Egypt.