Steve Hooker has survived qualification for the men's pole vault.
Steve Hooker has survived qualification for the men's pole vault. Getty Images Sport - Quinn Rooney

Hooker sets himself to enjoy defence

THE happy Hooker is back and determined to put on a good show.

After a horror 12 months, defending Olympic pole vault champion Steve Hooker was all smiles after clearing 5.50m in qualifying with his only jump.

He will be one of 14 competitors in the final, which is due to start at 4am tomorrow.

Hooker said although he was not in the same position he had been before Beijing four years ago, anything was possible.

"It wasn't the best jump I've ever done in my life, but it was enough," the West Australian said.

"I'm happy with how it's going. I've given myself the best chance of jumping well on Friday and that's all that I can do."

The winner of the event in Beijing with a vault of 5.96m, Hooker has struggled with form and confidence over the past year.

His best clearance in that time came in Poland last month when he produced a 5.72m effort.

He would need to be up near his career best to beat German Bjorn Otto and Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie.

Lavillenie won last month's European Championships with a vault of 5.97m, and Otto was the runner-up with 5.92m.

Hooker said he was confident he could do better than his 5.72m Poland jump.

"I know I've got more in me ... and that's a good position to be in," Hooker said.

"I'm just going to go out there and every height I jump once I get past my first few jumps is a bonus.

"I'm going to enjoy myself and soak up the atmosphere and hopefully put on a good show."


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