Steve Hooker has claimed his powers of persuasion played a decisive role in his qualification for the London Olympics men’s pole vault final.

The reigning Olympic champion made just one attempt in qualifying, clearing a height of 5.50 metres and then convinced his fellow competitors and the officials to expand the final, ensuring he will compete on Friday.

Hooker and Britain’s Steve Lewis started negotiations which saw the officials allow 14 athletes into the final, two more than the standard maximum of 12.

“Me and Steve were sitting next to each other and the two Germans were on our pit,” Hooker said.

“We just had a chat and said, ‘why waste our energy today? It’s all about Friday night’.

“We’re all good mates out there and we all want to have as many guys in the final as possible, so it worked out well.”

With six vaulters having cleared 5.50m without a missed attempt, the athletes banded together, declining an attempt at 5.60m, before convincing the officials to expand the final rather than force them to jump higher in qualifying.

Just three athletes who cleared 5.50m missed out on the final because of failed attempts earlier in qualifying.

“The officials were fantastic,” Hooker said.

“They agreed with us and we got the right result with 14 guys in the final, which is great.”

For Hooker, who has struggled with injuries over the past couple of years and only really returned to form at a pre-Olympic event in Poland, less effort during qualifying was always going to be preferred.

“I didn’t really want to jump any more if I didn’t have to and I think everyone agreed with me,” Hooker said.

The 30-year-old Victorian, who also won the pole vault world title in 2009, has revealed he has no issues leading into Friday’s final.

“My body feels fantastic,” Hooker said.

“I don’t feel any niggles or aches or pains that can get in your head on the runway.

“I feel confident and I’m just thinking about my jump as I’m running in, which is great. “Everyone is pretty much in it.

“It’s going to be a cracking final.”

By: Michael Huguenn

From:  http://www.sportal.com.au/london-2012-news-display/hooker-keeps-his-powder-dry-191841

Steve Hooker
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