Tokyo Olympics 2021: Dame Valerie Adams moves south to push herself towards more gold

Dame Valerie Adams admits she has a newfound love for shot put, after making the tough decision to move her training base to Christchurch.

The two-time Olympic gold medallist leaves behind family life, with her husband and two young children remaining in Auckland. 

The Rotorua native is on a mission and the 36-year-old is hard at work in Christchurch, re-invigorating her charge for a third Olympic title at Tokyo.

"I've almost found a new love for the sport, making this change and coming to Christchurch, and doing it this way," Dame Val tells Newshub. 

But working under new coach Dale Stevenson means leaving her young family for three weeks at a time.

"It's my 'why'," Adams says. "My kids are my massive inspiration - I want to do them proud and I want to do the country proud."

The latter means competing on the world stage, something she has done for 20 years, and she admits the absence of international competition has been tough.

"It does get hard. It does get mentally tough, because the excitement and the drive come from going overseas and competing with the other competitors."

But the move south has provided in-house competition. Joining former men's world champion Tom Walsh and other Olympic hopefuls means she's training with a team for the first time in her career.

"We get to train together and suffer together," she says. "We encourage each other and really push the limits, while also having good banter."

Says Stevenson: "She's got a whole other angle of things and a few years on Tom, so she's more than capable of holding her own in the heat of battle."

They hope that will lead to a medal at Tokyo in July, although whether or not the Games go ahead still remains uncertain.

"That is hard for a lot of people mentally, but you just have to put in the yards now, because whatever happens in July, you need to be prepared," Adams says. 

Preparing is something Adams will now continue to do in the south, where she has more time in her busy training schedule.

"I'm loving the fact I don't have to spend more than an hour in the car, getting to training each day," she says. 

Instead, Adams spends that extra time on other parts of her game, like in the gym, and that may be all she needs to return to the top.

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