The crowd gave Willett a hearty round of applause as he came on stage wearing his green and gold Australian team tracksuit to answer questions and share his Rio experience.
The 20-year-old returned to Australia early last week after finishing fifth in the men’s double trap shooting event at the Rio Olympics.
Ranked number one in the world in double trap shooting, the rising star of the shooting world claimed an Olympic record during the qualifying round of his event.
Willett told the crowd he was very appreciative of the support that he had received before, during and after his Olympic campaign.
“The whole experience has just been amazing and I am so thankful for the opportunity,” Willett said.
“It is so great to be here in Corowa to personally thank everyone who has supported me and share my experience with you.
“I know I have a long career ahead of me and I am really looking forward to pursuing it.”
Among the many to congratulate Willett was Member for Albury Greg Aplin who described James as a “great sportsperson”.
“The wild weather was no-one’s friend during the final double trap round that day but you generously placed no blame on nature’s contribution to the outcome and that is the mark of a great sportsperson,” Mr Aplin said.
“One of the great winners from Rio is Corowa, once again Australia has been reminded that the talent is nurtured and thrives in regional areas.
“We are very proud of you James in your impressive Olympic debut – you’ve got so much ahead of you.”
Mr Aplin concluded his speech by offering James his full support as he embarks on the next stage of his career.
“We will always be behind you, indeed a safe distance behind you,” Mr Aplin joked.
“Welcome home James Willett, we are so proud of you.”