16 JUN 2011 Series

With summer debut looming, Hooker eager to get in the Samsung Diamond League points chase - IAAF Online Diaries

Steven Hooker celebrates winning the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi (Getty Images)Steven Hooker celebrates winning the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi (Getty Images) © Copyright

Steve Hooker will be looking for something to build on when he returns to competition at the Herculis Diamond League meeting in Monaco after a nine-month layoff. In his latest IAAF Online Diary, Australia's World and Olympic champion catches us up on his preparation with just a few weeks remaining before he kicks off his summer campaign.


“One of my goals for this year is to improve throughout the season. I’m not expecting to set the world on fire in my first couple of competitions, but I’d like to set down a solid foundation I can build on.


“Physically, now, I’m feeling really good. The last two months have been really solid. I’ve got a large block of training done and I’m in good shape.


“I’ve really got my body right. For the first time in a long while I feel like I’m going to get through the full season. It’s a good feeling.


“It hasn’t been an ideal preparation in that my (left) knee has taken longer to get better than I thought it would. But it is better now, I’ve been able to train with it, build-up some energy and get into good shape.


“I leave here (Perth) on 22 June and at the moment Monaco (22 July) is my first competition. It’s usually one of the best competitions of the season, which might seem a little daunting to some people, but it’s actually one of the best places to jump, given the conditions.


“Your first couple of competitions are actually the ones where you want to turn up and find conditions are as close to perfect as possible, and you’re almost guaranteed that in Monaco.


“I’ve jumped there once before – in 2007, when I wasn’t having a great year. I jumped 5.87, which was my best for the season. It’s a really good place to jump, I feel comfortable there and I love the set-up. I’m keen to jump there and get things started.


“Having said that, I’m weighing up my options about Paris DL (8 July) as well.


“I’d love to jump there, but it’s conditional on everything going perfectly between now and then. If all goes well, if I get over the travel well and have a good first couple of weeks in England, there’s a possibility of jumping there, but it’s no certainty.


“One thing in favour, on the flip-side, is the points situation. I thought that, starting so late, there would be a couple of people clearly ahead and there’d be no chance of catching them. But given the results of the first three competitions, three different winners and the points spread among six or seven vaulters, it’s still wide open.


“Given that, it’s tempting to push to get to Paris, see if I can grab a couple of points there and keep in touch with the leaders.


“First, I’ve got to get to Europe and settle in. I’ll be staying with Steve Lewis in London, close to the Olympic venue. It’s where I plan to stay next year, as well. I’ll be staying in the same house, even sleeping in the same bed, getting used to everything.


“Of course, I could be in trouble if Steve decides on a major house renovation before London, but I think I’ll be safe on that. That sort of thing would be more of a stress for him than me!


“Aside from the two major competitions, the other which is relatively certain is a low-key one in Leverkusen, run by the local vaulters there.


“I was based in Cologne last year and jumped in the first “Leverkusen Pole Vault Classic”. They’ve always been pretty good to me there, letting me train in their building and helping me out whenever and wherever they can.


“It’s a fun competition, with a barbeque going alongside the runway. The biggest problem is having Danny Ecker’s kids running onto the runway when you’re about to jump. It’s a fun day.


“See you next time.”


Steve