At the outset, James expressed his appreciation to “Rob and everyone who helped organise this Australia Day” before returning fire with some most interesting facts. “I’ve been shooting most of my life,” he said.
Clay target shooting times on the family farm then as a 14/15-year-old, when a student at the Corowa Gun Club every Wednesday in a small competition with Corowa High School shooters and mates, were recalled by James.
It progressed to weekends at Corowa, Yarrawonga and other clubs, to the Riverina competition level, State Championships at Wagga and Nationals, also at Wagga for both junior and open ages before representing Australia which started in New Zealand, in 2014.
“I’ve always wanted to shoot, and wanted to represent Mulwala and my family. At the Olympics (in Rio last year) I wanted to win (finished a very commendable fifth), not to just make up the numbers.”
Training, James said, involves a lot of time of the farm range, 30 to 40 hours a week overall and some 500 to 1,000 rounds of ammunition a day – compared to 200 a day in a competition – at 75 cents every shot.
“Shooting is a very expensive sport where you can spend up to $200 a day clay target shooting,” the talented world shooter said. “I’m very privileged to have great support from family, and also CMCU, Hargreaves and gun sponsorship. I wouldn’t be able to do this without that support.”
James’s 2017 program includes six major events overseas with India, Mexico, Cypress and Moscow among the venues.
He was thrilled to be in Rio’s opening ceremony. “It was a great experience with hundreds of Australians and tens of thousands of people,” he said. “It’s something I’ll never forget and it’s great to talk about it here on Australia Day.”
Mr Purtle thanked James for the insight into his sporting career. “You are an inspiration to all the young kids listening to you today and I know older people appreciate your achievements very much,” he said.
“I know everybody here wishes you all the best in your competitions, especially the Commonwealth Games (Gold Coast, April 2018) and the Tokyo Olympics (2020).”