Steven Hooker

As New Year dawns, Steve Hooker feeling energised

Steve Hooker vaulting at 2009 Sydney Track Classic (Getty Images)Steve Hooker vaulting at 2009 Sydney Track Classic (Getty Images) © Copyright
A New Year, a new training venue and a strong training bloc under his belt - Steve Hooker is feeling re-energised.

"We’re now based at the new Perth athletics stadium, which is the venue for this year’s Australian national championships.

"It’s a big change. The old Perry Lakes stadium had a Rekortan track and the new one has Mondo, which is a major difference. The track alignment is different, too. The wind blows straight down the pole vault runway, which is very good.

"Mondo is a bit harder, so I’ve had a few aches and pains. That’s something that has to be managed. I suppose that’s the one downside, but the plus is that it’s a much better venue overall.

"I’ve done all my jumping sessions there since getting back into training and it’s been great. I can’t imagine any place better to train and compete.

"It’s built on the same land as the West Australian Institute of Sport. Weights, gym and sports medicine are all nearby. The grass track, the track and the WAIS facilities are all within walking distance. Everyone who has been here reckons it’s the best training facility in the country.

"(Australian 100 metres record holder) Patrick Johnson has been here, and had a couple of competitions. Daichi Sawano is here with a couple of other Japanese vaulters and there is a German group coming out in April. Steve Lewis will also be out.

"It’s great to have groups of people training here, because you sometimes can feel a bit isolated in Perth.

"I’ll have my first competitions here in Perth. I’ll probably do a couple of competitions off a short approach, eight steps and another couple off the full approach. Then I’ll do Sydney and Melbourne before the World Indoors in Doha.

"I’ve never competed in that part of the world before, though I visited Dubai for a holiday. From what I hear the Aspire Dome is an amazing venue. Doha is a good venue for a championships _  everyone has to travel to get there and it’s almost the same distance from everywhere. So it will be a level playing field, no-one will have a home advantage.

"I’ve had a big break from jumping because of the injury and mentally I needed a rest.

"The aim is to get a few competitions under my belt, so that I’m jumping well and back into the decision-making  - selecting the right pole, deciding where to position the uprights. I’m not thinking heights, but anytime you jump in Perth you can get good conditions, so you don’t want to waste them.

"Physically, I’m going very well. My goal was to achieve four months of good training without missing a day. I think I’ve missed about a week all up, which is my best period in over four years. The intensity has probably been a little lower, but in terms of volume and consistency it’s my best period in four years. Hopefully I’ll get some good results off it.

"I do most of my jump sessions on my own, but we have a good group of girls in (Alex Parnov’s) squad. His daughter, Liz Parnov has done 4.20, so has Amanda Bisk, so there’s a few around to motivate each other for track and gym sessions.

Steve