Frustration is building for top-ranked Kiwi triathlete Hayden Wilde due to the lack of opportunity he's been given to race overseas in the build up to the Olympics.
Wilde has described it as being "handcuffed" to New Zealand, while athletes from all over the world begin their preparations for Tokyo.
"It's pretty frustrating," Wilde tells Newshub.
His frustration will likely continue next month, when the World Triathlon Series starts in Yokohama, an event many are using as a stepping stone for the games - except Wilde.
"Looking at the field, it is pretty much as stacked as it can be with every other country," Wilde notes.
"I think the only country that's missing is New Zealand, unfortunately."
The 24-year-old expected to be at that start line, until Triathlon NZ pulled his participation on the basis it believed the event unsafe.
"You get up at 2am to watch your competition racing overseas. It's like 'oh, I wish I was there'," Wilde admits.
"It's pretty tough."
In response to Wilde's complaints, Triathlon NZ chief executive Claire Beard says: "When making decisions regarding international race entry, we have always had the health and safety of our athletes as our primary focus.
"We will continue to assess each international race to determine if we can safely enter an athlete and support them."
Recently approved for travel by Triathlon NZ, Wilde is targeting Leeds in June as his first international event since March last year.
But it may be a case of too little, too late.
"It's going to be extremely tough to bring medals home in any sport without any international racing," Wilde says.
"Personally, it kind of sucks. I just want to spread my wings and get racing."
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