Steven Hooker celebrates winning the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi (Getty Images) © Copyright
“By the time I have my first competition in July it will be October, 2010 – nine months - since I competed.
“I’m definitely mentally refreshed and in the past few months I’ve done a lot of good stuff, physically.
“It’s the longest break from competition I’ve had for 10 years. I don’t really miss competing, but I’m at the point now at which I’m really enjoying jumping and looking forward to resuming.
“At the same time, though, I’m enjoying not being rushed. Once the Samsung Diamond League season starts in Doha, I’m going to be following the results and keeping an eye on who’s doing well.
“What the break has been about is giving my body the chance to get right for the World Championships this year and, especially, the Olympics next year.
“I feel in good shape right now, I’ve got myself into good physical shape.
“The problem has been injuries that have recurred. The idea behind taking some down-time has been to get on top of them - not to rehabilitate them, but to put myself in a position where I don’t have them again.
“To help do that, I’ve been making some changes on the runway, some technical adjustments to the way I jump. It’s about putting me in a good position for next year.
“Technical changes take a while to settle in. You can go backwards for a while, so this season is going to be an interesting and challenging one.
“Another change I’ll be making this year is in my training base. Over the next two years I’m going to be based in London, getting used to the life before the Games.
“All Australians know there’s just one world for the weather in England – terrible. I’m joking, actually, but the idea is to get used to the climate and training and competition so that 2012 becomes as much a home Olympic Games as possible.
“So I’ll be spending time there in late July to experience the weather at Games’ time.
“I’ve competed in Daegu before at the time we will compete this year and I remember it was wet. There’s probably a one in three chance it will be wet for the final and I’m prepared for that, having experienced it.
“That’s the kind of thing I want to prepare for with London.
“As part of that I will do a test camp for a week or so at the Australian training facility at Tonbridge School in Kent, just outside London, checking out the training facilities and the food.
“It should feel just like home in 2012.”