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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hooker Looks Foward To Commonwealth Games

n the eyes of many, the prestige of the Commonwealth Games belongs in a bygone era uncluttered by lucrative prize money and biennial world championships.

Just don't tell that to Steve Hooker.

Despite being the Olympic and World pole vault champion, Hooker is just as proud of the Commonwealth gold he won in his home town of Melbourne in 2006, and looking forward to competing in next year's showpiece in Delhi.

"It is always been a different competition to the world's and the Olympics but it has always had a special place in the hearts of Australians," Hooker told AAP.

"The Australian public voted against becoming a republic and we are still part of the Commonwealth and that holds some meaning.

"The Commonwealth Games should be seen in the same light and celebrated by Australians.

"Going to India it will a very unique experience and to Australian athletes the Commonwealth games is still very important."

The games will be the biggest event of 2010 in what will be a busy year for the Australian team captain, who is determined to compete on home soil at some stage in the new year.

"It is a long season this year and there is a lot to be considered.

"We also have the world indoor championship and the new diamond league series as well as the Commonwealths.

"On top of that I would like to compete in Australia in front of my home crowd I always enjoy that and it is a big priority for me."

The 27-year-old Melburnian underlined his status as Australia's most successful track and field athlete when he defied the pain of an abductor injury, to jump 5.90m and win gold at the World Championships in Berlin in August.

It was an achievement that even impressed 100 and 200 metres world record holder Usain Bolt.

"We were staying in the same place as the Jamaican team and whenever I saw Asafa Powell he would ask me how the injury was going and was I going to make it and I got to know the Jamaican guys quite well," Hooker explained.

"After I cleared 5.90m to win, the Jamaican sprint 4x100m relay team were in the mixed zone and Usain Bolt came up to me and just said: "How did you do that?"