“I tell everybody, including him … he had something to do with it,” jokes the coach of the Tokyo Olympics gold medal contender.
Mark, the Atlanta Olympics double trap champion, is referring to Willett’s exquisite timing on a couple of fronts. Firstly, in booking his place in Japan early and therefore avoiding having to travel to Sydney for the final qualification event in March – one of the last sports events held in Australia before the lockdown. Secondly, and more significantly, about the same time the 24-year-old from the Riverina happened to finish construction on a $250,000 Olympic-standard clay-target range on his family’s property at Mulwala.
With shooting clubs shut around the world, it meant Willett has been one of the few competitors in his sport able to continue training properly – simply by walking out the back door with his shotgun.
“I think it’s the only private range in NSW … there would only be a handful in the country,” Mark said. “But how smart was he to build that?”
The Willetts have sheep and crops on the farm, although they haven’t put a crop in this year yet because of the weather.