Steven Hooker

Hooker relishing favourite’s role

Steven Hooker of Australia on his way to winning gold in the Pole Vault (Getty Images)Steven Hooker of Australia on his way to winning gold in the Pole Vault (Getty Images) © Copyright
As an IAAF Diamond League Ambassador, Steve Hooker realises he will be the man to beat in men’s Pole Vault this season - his results in the past two years give him that status anyway. But he doesn’t mind the extra attention.

"I like being in that position. I don’t feel like I’m lacking in areas where I can improve. There’s a lot of stuff I can work on to keep on improving my own performance. That’s what I focus on more than my opposition and how they’re jumping. If I can do my job, continue improving and keep working on my weaknesses, I should be able to keep myself in a very strong position.

"It’s really exciting to be among the group of athletes who are Diamond League Ambassadors. I’m very excited to be among that group.

"The Diamond League makes it easy to select my competitions. I’ll be competing at all the Diamond League meetings that have a men’s pole vault, starting in Shanghai (23 May). There might be one or two other competitions that slot into my program, but my main focus will be the Diamond League. The only major championship Australia has is the Commonwealth Games and that’s a long way after the rest of the season.

"It does mean a shift in focus on my season. Normally I wouldn’t compete in May, that’s usually a month reserved for training and conditioning. This season is different; it’s a challenge, it makes it difficult for me and Alex (Parnov), to find a way to get through such a long season, but often when you try different things you discover a few that might help you in the future.

"My focus is just on getting to the Diamond League competitions in as good condition as I can be. It’s a long season. There might be a small window where I can really peak and go for a big result, but the main thing is to keep healthy and to jump consistently. If I can jump a few 5.90s it will be a pretty good year.

"Right now, I’m in the middle of quite a heavy training bloc leading up to Shanghai. It’s one of a couple of opportunities - there’s another after the Paris Diamond League - to get in some good training. It’s a key time to get a bit of work done, a bit of conditioning, so I will be able to jump well all the way through to October.

"I’ve had one competition since the world indoor championships, which was our national championships here in Perth. I was happy enough with how I jumped: 5.80 is pretty solid result considering the competition was more or less ‘in the middle of nowhere’ between Doha and Shanghai. I’d always like to jump higher but 5.80 is a pretty solid result in all the conditions.

"I’m enjoying the time at home, because once I leave I’m going to be away six months. That’s a long period of time and it would be very difficult to manage had I not spent the last two summers in Cologne. I’ll be based there again this year.

"Cologne feels like a second home. When you know your way around a city, when you know how to find everything, it makes things a lot easier, especially if you’re living in the one apartment for the whole summer as opposed to packing a suitcase up every second day and moving from hotel room to hotel room."

Take care,
Steven