Tokyo Olympics: Frustrated Tom Walsh admits motivation lacking as questions surround 2021 Games

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe says a COVID-19 vaccine would be needed, if the Tokyo Olympics are to proceed next year.

Coe's stressed that, without one, the already postponed games would be cancelled.

That's not good news for world champion shot putter Tom Walsh, who returned to training on Thursday. 

The Rio Olympics bronze medallist told Newshub his frustration levels had been boiling over, as he contemplated another 12 months of uncertainty.

"I'd be lying if I said motivation over the last 5-6 weeks wasn't wavering, because I don't know what I'm training for," Walsh exclaims.

"The biggest thing in life is planning towards something, whether that’s a holiday, work drinks or anything like that. It's the same with us. 

"We’re always planning towards that next competition, so to have those goalposts continuously moved on us is quite frustrating."

Walsh was meant to leave for the United States on Sunday to ramp up preparations for the Tokyo Games, which have now been postponed by a year.

And if medical experts don't find a vaccine, Walsh fears Coe's assessment will come to pass, which would be heartbreaking for athletes all over the globe. 

“For some of the minor sports like athletics, canoeing and rowing, it’s the only time the spotlight is on them during a four-year period and to have that taken away from them... for athletes, that's sponsorship, for government bodies that's funding and so forth. It has a whole ripple-down effect."

But if taking a coronavirus vaccine grants Walsh entry into Japan next year, the Kiwi is all up for it.

"I think if it’s all proven that there’s no side effects or bad ones then, for sure, that’s something we have to do, as it’s part of our job to travel the world and compete."

Of greater concern to Walsh is the realistic prospect that drugs cheats will sneak through the testing cracks over the next 12 months, as attention diverts to the more pressing matter of COVID-19.

"People who take drugs are always going to take drugs, no matter what time and place it is.

"Over the last 5-6 weeks of lockdown, drug testing obviously wasn’t allowed to occur. Some people are going to take advantage of that and some people aren’t, but I’d think that the majority definitely aren't."