Double trap competitor James Willett, of Mulwala, training at the Majura Park Gun Club in Canberra. Photo: Melissa Adams
James Willett was having his inaugural competition in the double trap when he travelled to Canberra this time last year.
Fast forward 12 months and the 20-year-old from Mulwala in country NSW is dreaming of winning Olympic Games gold in Rio.
Willett is back in the national capital to contest an International Shooting Sport Federation Open championships hosted by the Majura Park Clay Target Club on Friday.
The event couldn't come at a better time for Willett as he looks to put the final touches on his preparation ahead of next weekend's national championships in Brisbane.
Ranked No. 1 nationally, Willett secured Australia a spot in the elite 18-man field at the Olympics with an impressive fourth at last year's world championships.
It's been a rapid rise for Willett, who learnt to shoot on his family's farm as soon as he could get his gun licence, but only took up double trap last year.
"The Canberra shoot this time last year was pretty much one of my first shoots at the double trap," Willett said.
"It was more learning the discipline last year and now it's about trying to shoot pretty well this year.
"We built the shooting range at home on the farm and I've just been training and working towards the Olympic Games, that's my ultimate goal at the moment and hopefully bring home the gold medal."
Willett and his family constructed an $80,000 shooting range on their property so he could train, the closest range being four hours away in Werribee.
"I need to train about four to five times a week, so with a few friends and mum and dad at home we built it on the farm," Willett said.
"I"ve replicated the layout pretty much to the regulations of the courses overseas."
In double trap, competitors have one shot each at two targets which are thrown simultaneously in the air 55 metres from the trap house.
The ISSF Open championships continue on Saturday and Sunday and have attracted shooters from across the country in a variety of divisions.
This is the second year the facility has been used after it was built with financial assistance from the ACT government's capital assistance program.
"The traps used in Canberra are the same brand as the Olympics, so it's good to shoot on the same equipment that the Olympics have," Willett said.
"It's one of the better facilities in Australia."