Steven Hooker

Hooker better and better each day

Steve Hooker beats the rain in Melbourne (Getty Images)Steve Hooker beats the rain in Melbourne (Getty Images) © Copyright

One month out from the World Championships qualifying competition, Olympic Pole Vault champion Steve Hooker is feeling better by the day after battling a couple of minor injuries before leaving Australia. Healthy Hooker may be, but even he is not immune to a little bit of Bolt-mania.

 “Today (20 July) is exactly a month away from the pole vault qualifying competition and I feel like I’ll be going in there as strong as anyone.

“Physically, I’m just better and better each day. The injuries I had (a knee problem as a result of a training accident, and strained pectoral muscles) before leaving for Europe are not really a concern any more. Every day that I’m here is another solid day of training behind me without having to worry about those things.

“I  just turned 27 (16 July). It sounds terribly old. I didn’t do anything special - just a good training session, a good meal and that’s about it. I’m saving the celebrations until September.

“I competed in Lausanne when Usain was there and you can feel the buzz.

‘’There’s no doubt he’s a superstar. Running in terrible conditions in Lausanne and Paris and putting up massive times in both competitions - it’s almost superhuman in what he’s doing.

“Everyone knows that regardless of the venue, regardless of the conditions, you’re going to see something exciting every time he turns up to run. It can only be very positive for the sport.

“When he’s running you take notice. Even at the Olympic Games while I was out there competing in qualifying I was watching him run the 200 and in the final saw his third leg of the relay when I should have been taking care of business myself. It’s hard to take your eyes off him.

“I’ve had two competitions so far and now have a break between Reims and London. A win and a loss (Hooker’s third place in Reims broke an undefeated run of nine competions just nine days short of a calendar year).

“I feel a bit different about the win and the loss than what people might expect. I wasn’t very happy with the win in Lausanne. It was good to get a win obviously, but I didn’t think I was jumping that well, (I had) no consistency. In Reims, I actually started to jump quite well and was feeling good physically, so I was pretty pleased even though I had my first loss of the year.

“I feel like I’m getting some good training in this period and some good technical sessions. I’m just focusing on getting some jumping done, some one-on-one time with (coach) Alex (Parnov), some good training sessions at Leverkusen, working on a few technical things that haven’t been quite right. I hope that by London I’ll be back to some really big heights.

I’m looking forward to good conditions and jumping high. It’s my first competition against Brad Walker for the year. Looking forward very much to that, I’m sure Brad will come over in good form.

“Looking to Berlin, it seems like a new generation. There’s a lot of young German guys vaulting very well (Alex Straub, Malte Mohr, Tobias Scherbarth), and the French guys as well (Renaud  Lavillenie, Romain Mesnil). France and Germany are two traditional pole vault countries, so it’s not that unexpected but these are interesting times. It will be interesting to see what the pecking order is at the end of the season.”

Steve