Australian Olympic hero Steve Hooker (WA) is set to face a familiar foe after it was announced that he would duel his training partner and British star Steve Lewis (GBR) in the men’s pole vault at the Sydney and Perth legs of the Qantas Australian Athletics Tour.

Hooker and Lewis, the Australian (6.06m) and British (5.82m) record holders respectively, train together in Phoenix in the US under coach Dan Pfaff but the high flying duo will take time out from their friendship to face-off in Australia next month.

“I’m committed to compete in Sydney and Perth this year, and also have plans to jump at a couple of smaller meets in Western Australia as part of my final preparations for the Qantas Australian Athletics Tour,” Hooker said, confirming his participation in the Australian Athletics Tour.

“Having the other Steve here to jump with me will be great, and I hope that between us we will be able to deliver something worth coming out to see.”

Hooker is one of the most accomplished athletes in Australian track and field history. His resume boasts the Oceania and Australian pole vault record, gold medals from the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, IAAF World Championships, IAAF World Indoor Championships and the Continental Cup, three Australian titles and the Australian Flame captaincy since 2009.

In recent years, however, the 31-year-old has been troubled by frustrations with his body and run-up, with his no height in the final at the London Olympic Games enough to commit to a need for change.

That change included a move to a new coach, and a soon to be permanent relocation to live in Phoenix.  He has spent the last three months training there, returning to Australia in the past few weeks and winning the Western Australian title with a leap of 5.00m on Friday night.

“I’ve spent the past few months in the US training with Dan and it has been an amazing experience,” Hooker continued.

“After training solo for two years it has been a very refreshing opportunity to join a competitive training environment where everyday is a bit of a challenge to be the best. I feel like I am learning things that I haven’t before and that’s been great for my running technique and hopefully will be great for my jumping this season.

“So far I have jumped back home once at the WA Champs on Friday night. It was off a shortened run up of 12 steps and for the most part was about getting a feel for poles, and my run up in competition. It was really good fun to be back out there.

“The result wasn’t amazing, but it was a good sign and I am confident that with a few more weeks of training I will continue to improve.”

Hooker’s Qantas Australian Athletics Tour rival in Steve Lewis is a two-time Commonwealth Games medallist (2006, 2010), and last year he set a new personal best just weeks out from placing 5th (5.75m) in the men’s pole vault at the London Olympic Games.

Lewis has competed at the IAAF World Championships on three occasions (2007, 2009, 2011), and has been a finalist at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in 2010 and 2012.

In 2013, Lewis has soared a season best 5.62m indoors, before winning the gold medal at the United Kingdom Indoor Athletics Championships in Sheffield (GBR) last week.

The Qantas Australian Athletics Tour launches in Sydney on 9 March, before the Go for 2&5 Perth Track Classic on 16 March and the Qantas Melbourne World Challenge on 6 April.

Set to feature Australia’s best track and field charges including Olympic medallists Sally Pearson (Qld) and Mitchell Watt (Qld), the three-meet series will also welcome a bounty of international superstars including Valerie Adams (NZL, shot put), Sunette Viljoen (RSA, javelin) and Asafa Powell (JAM, sprints).

Tickets to the Qantas Australian Athletics Tour are available via Ticketmaster HERE.

From: http://www.sydneytrackclassic.com/News/ArtMID/3210/ArticleID/1202/Hooker-v-Lewis-in-Sydney-and-Perth

Hooker - Lewis Vaulter Magazine
Hooker – Lewis Vaulter Magazine

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