Hooker positive despite lengthy odds

DAEGU, South Korea, (Reuters) – Australian Steve  Hooker battled through injury to win the pole vault world title  two years ago but although he is now fit, a lack of practice  means he will be battling against the odds to retain his crown.

The 29-year-old Olympic champion begins the defence of the  title he won in Berlin in 2009 on the opening day of the Daegu  world championships today having struggled with injury for  much of the last couple of years.

“In Berlin I was in the position where I actually had  something wrong with me physically but I was mentally confident  in my jump and knew I could put together jumps when I needed to,  so right now it’s the exact opposite of that,” Hooker said  yesterday.

“Physically now I’ve got myself into pretty good shape but I  just haven’t had the jumps to back that up. I haven’t been in  shape for long enough where I’ve been able to get the number of  jumps I’ve needed to.”

Hooker, whose leap of 6.06m indoors in the 2009 season was  the second highest in history behind retired world record holder  Sergei Bubka, only started his competitive season at the end of  July.

Also coming to terms with a new fibreglass pole, Hooker’s  best jump this season of 5.60 leaves him well down the list of  leading results, some 30 centimetres behind the likes of  France’s Renaud Lavillenie and Pole Pawel Wojciechowski.

Having won the title in Berlin with a jump of 5.90 despite a  groin injury and having failed at 5.85 on his first attempt, the  flame-haired Victorian is not ruling out what would be a  sensational victory.

“I’m going to have to try and battle my way through this  comp and my whole attitude is going to be just to stay alive,  and that’s the cool thing about my event, you get three attempts  at every height and I just have to make one of those work,” he  added.

“I’d like to have jumped 5.90 like a couple of the guys have  in the lead up because that gives you the confidence going in  that you’ve already done it before.

“I’ve done this for long enough to know that I’ve got  results that I didn’t think I’d ever get. I’ve felt like there’s  no way I can jump 5.90 and then somehow it comes out and just  happens.”

“I know how quickly things can turn around and how quickly  you can find an old feeling that you’ve had before, but you  don’t have that happen unless you’re optimistic about it and  stay positive.”
The pole vault qualifiers take place today with the  final on Monday evening.

Around the Web

Comments