Steven Hooker

Hooker begins final preparations for Doha

Steven Hooker of Australia celebrates winning the gold medal in the men's Pole Vault final at the 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics (Getty Images)Steven Hooker of Australia celebrates winning the gold medal in the men's Pole Vault final at the 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics (Getty Images) © Copyright
Circumstances forced Steve Hooker to get pretty much into a zone of his own to win last year’s outdoor World championships. Again he is on his own as he prepares for the World Indoor Championships with competitions in Sydney this weekend and at the opening IAAF World Challenge meeting in Melbourne on 4 March.

“There’s no internationals jumping against me in these competitions, so I’ve really got to look within myself to what I’m doing. The aim is to get the best out of myself and get myself into the best possible position going to Doha.

“I’m happy with where I am. I’ve had three competitions, one off a short, eight-step approach and two off the full one. I jumped 5.40 in the short-run competition and then 5.61 with an extra attempt. In the first full run-up competition I did 5.70 and then 5.80 in my second.

“It was good just to shake out the cobwebs, but there was no competition and no real competition atmosphere, so it was quite an effort to motivate myself. I’m looking forward to having a crowd around and some atmosphere to generate some better results, than those. I know I’m in better shape than that.

“Now that I’m on the east coast, I won’t be going back to Perth until after the world indoors. It’s a long flight, but once you get on a plane anywhere you’re just waiting to get off. I feel pretty comfortable coming to Sydney.

“I made my first Olympic team jumping at the national championships here and cleared 5.95 here last year, so it’s been a good venue for me. Once again I’m looking forward to making the most of the opportunity.

“Last year I came here off my indoor tour and went really close to 6.10.

“This year I’m looking to build towards Doha. I’m not going to be disappointed if I go to Doha without something like that under my belt, because I know it’s there. I’ve been putting together some really solid training sessions, working on a few things. My eight-step jump was really good; technically it’s all there, I’ve just got to get my full approach run-up sorted. That’s what the focus has been the last two weeks.

“I feel like I’ve got it under control in training so now I’ve got to get that same run-up happening in the competition arena. That’s my focus in the next two meets.

“I’ll be flying straight to Melbourne from Sydney and then straight to Doha the day after the World Challenge meeting. I’ll be there a week before so I’ll almost be a ‘local’ by the time the competition starts. I’ll get the week to acclimatise.

“I’ve never been there, but I’ve heard the Aspire Dome is a fantastic place to train. I want to give myself the maximum time to get over the travel, because it doesn’t necessarily agree with my body that much, and give myself the best chance of a good result.

“The Aspire Dome is a fantastic venue, one of the best indoor venues in the world. It should be an exciting experience and an opportunity to get a big height. I like jumping indoors more than jumping outdoors. I get very few opportunities to do it and I always make the most of them.

Steven