ALL-CONQUERING Australian pole vault king Steve Hooker has ­revealed the problems of travelling the world with a huge piece of sporting equipment.

Measuring more than five metres in length makes the pole a logistical ­mile-high nightmare. It also means catching the same flight as Hooker and his pole-vaulting pals is to be avoided at all costs.

The Melbourne ace, who turned 30 earlier this month, said: “I have had a serious amount of experience of this – getting it through security, getting it on to the plane and then getting it to the event itself.

“The whole pole is five metres and twenty centimetres long and fits in this one big PVC pipe. You learn to manage it, though, and I’m pretty good at it. I’ve only hit a few people in the head over the years!

“My parents were both athletes and they were used to travelling around with pole-vaulters. We’re the kids that lived a long way from everyone else. And you never want to be on the same plane as us.

“When we get off the plane, everybody else has to wait while the poles are ­taken off first and loaded on to the bus.

“Then you’re always cramped on the bus because of our equipment being everywhere.”

Despite dominating his event for the last six years, Olympic, world and ­Commonwealth champion Hooker has endured a miserable 2012.

But the man from Down Under is promising to deliver in London – and make staying up throughout the night worthwhile for the millions of sports-mad fans back home.

 Hooker, whose best leap of 6.06m is the second-highest jump ever, joked: “Australians are veterans at watching sport at odd hours. Every Aussie is used to turning up at work all bleary-eyed.

“I’ve had an ordinary season but I’m feeling in pretty good shape – and the Olympics are different. It’s when the sport comes into its own.”



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