Steven Hooker

Hooker's quest for Berlin's glory starts in Cologne

Australia's Steven Hooker, winner of the men's pole vault in Paris (Getty Images)Australia's Steven Hooker, winner of the men's pole vault in Paris (Getty Images) © Copyright

As you read this, Steve Hooker is on his way to Germany to set up his training base for his World Championships campaign, one that he hopes will bring him his first World Championships medal. He will be basing himself in Cologne.

“I’ve been hanging out to get away from the Australian winter. I like the athlete lifestyle and I really enjoy my time on the road. Three months is probably about long enough, though, then it’s good to get home again.

“My competition programme is settled - Lausanne on 7 July, Reims on 14 July, London on 25 July and Stockholm on 31 July. They’re all venues where you can jump high. Four meets is probably the right fit for me. I like to feel like I build towards a major championship.

“We’re renting an apartment (in Cologne). There’ll be four of us, myself, Paul Burgess, (physiotherapist) Shane Kelly and (coach) Alex Parnov.

“I like the idea of an apartment better than a hotel. You can cook for yourself and have your own space.

“Cologne is an interesting place, lots of things to do. It’s got its traditional architecture, but the majority was re-built after the war.

“We’ll actually be training at the Leverkusen facility, about 10 minutes down the road from Cologne. It’s a bit of a pole vault Mecca. At any time you wander in there might be 10 of the world top 20 working out.

“As an athlete, I don’t have as much spare time as you’d think, after training, recovery and physio. I like to go out and wander around a bit, maybe buy the ingredients to cook for our meals, so we’re always eating fresh stuff.

“The four of us don’t really have assigned roles. We share the housekeeping roles and everyone plays their part.

“As far as free time, I listen to a bit of music. We usually take away some DVDs and get through a couple of television series. I read a bit and we take a couple of guitars so we can muck around playing our own music as well.

“Cologne has a pretty good entertainment scene. I don’t know too many German bands, but maybe I’ll get to hear a couple of them.

“The Australian team is going to have its final pre-Berlin training camp in Cologne, too. Once the team arrives, we’ll be starting to get into that final preparation. We will be going to Berlin by bus on 11 August so it will be good travelling together as a team, a bit of team bonding.

“Berlin has been a good place for me. I jumped 5.96 metres there in 2006 to win the Golden League meeting. It’s a good place to jump with a great crowd.

“I’m as hungry as I was last year. I’ve never won a World Championship medal and I want to do that - hopefully a gold one.”

Steve