Steven Hooker

Hooker focused on season’s debut in Monaco

Steven Hooker clears 5.95m to win the IAAF / VTB Bank Continental Cup in Split (Getty Images)Steven Hooker clears 5.95m to win the IAAF / VTB Bank Continental Cup in Split (Getty Images) © Copyright

London 2012 is pretty well on his doorstep, but reigning Olympic and World champion Steve Hooker is focused on his 2011 debut at the Herculis Monaco Samsung Diamond League meeting on 22 July.


“Monaco will be my absolute first competition since last October.


“It is jumping straight in at the deep end, I guess. But there’s no better place to start than against the best in the world in a competition that’s virtually a world championships final. I’ve been missing the adrenalin of competition, that feeling of being out there and being competitive.


“I’ve been settling in nicely at my London base since arriving (on 23 June). The first two weeks were really a productive time; I got a lot of good training done.


“The house is in Lea Valley, close to all the London 2012 venues. The Games’ facilities are between here and central London. It’s a good place with great cooking facilities. Diet can often be the hardest thing to get on top of when you’re travelling.  So that’s a really positive thing.


“Where I’m training is one of the high performance centres. Steve Lewis trains there and I train with him when he comes out. We’ll train together when we can.


“It’s good. I’ve had a couple of good vaulting sessions over here. I’ve got one more vaulting session to do on Friday before I head over to Monaco next Wednesday.


“We’ll have some opportunity to go and check out the Olympic facilities, the stadium and such, over summer. At some stage it will be good to get inside the stadium and visualise what’s to come, what’s going to happen there. I’ll be doing that as part of my 2012 preparation.


“First, it’s Monaco. I had thought about doing Paris but, in the end, the decision was that I needed to get some training done. Paris DL had tough conditions, it wouldn’t have been an ideal way to start as it turned out.


“It’s not easy to get a good result: you look at the guys who have been vaulting well all year, they struggled there.


“I was happy with the decision in the end. On the day of the Paris meeting I did a vaulting session, a good session, which was probably more productive for me in terms of preparation for Daegu. I was happy to miss that one and now I’m looking forward to one more vault session and getting myself fresh and ready for Monaco.


“It’ll be good. There’s no better place to start. I always go into my first competition aiming to get a big result and that’s how I’m going to be approaching this one. I’m going to go out and have a good crack at it.


“There’s already a lot of Australians doing well here, which is motivating for me. There were some great results in Paris and Birmingham which I enjoyed watching.


“Kim Mickle got her world championships and Olympic qualifiers in Paris. That was a really good result for her and she can head home now and do her final preparation in Perth.


“Sally Pearson’s two runs in Birmingham showed she is ready to go and get it done in a major championships. Sally was unlucky in 2009, hurting her back a few weeks out from the world champs. Then she struck a really high-quality race and finished fifth.


“This year has gone really well for her. She’s healthy, she looks like she’s in best shape she has ever been in, and she’s hurdling well. She said there’s more to come, so I think we’ll see more improvement.


“The other one that was really pleasing was Craig Mottram, to see him and Collis Birmingham pull out qualifying times for the world championships. And Jarrod Bannister threw over 82 (metres) in the javelin as well.


“So, from team perspective, from the athletes we’d expect to see, it was a really good weekend for Australia. It’s great to see that it’s all coming together.”


Steven