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Hooker Named WAIS Athlete of the Year
9 November 2009

World Champion pole vaulter Steve Hooker was named as the Western Australian Institute of Sport's Athlete of the Year for 2008/09, repeating hisaward winfrom last year in front of 500 guests at the Institute's 25th anniversary dinner at Challenge Stadium last Friday.

Hooker won the award from twofellow World Championship winners, with cyclists Cameron Meyer (points race champion) and Josephine Tomic (omnium champion) named as finalists for the award that hashonoured the highest achieving athlete at WAIS each year since the Institute's inception 25 years ago. The 27-year old is only the third athlete in WAIS history to win the award in consecutive years.

The Olympic Champion continued his rise into world sport's stratosphere when he added a World Title at the IAAF World Championships to his Olympic Gold. He secured the title in Berlin in dramatic circumstances, jumping just three times in the whole competition as he battled an adductor injury suffered in the final lead up to competition. The adopted West Australian's emotional reaction following his clearance at 5.90m to clinch first place was one of 2009's defining sports moments.

Further to World Championship Gold the pole vault star won a string of meets around the world, falling just days short of going a whole year undefeated. During the run of victories he also became the second highest vaulter of all-time when he cleared 6.06m at a meet in Boston in February.

In the start of a new tradition at the WAIS Annual Dinner awards were also presented to the WAIS Junior Athlete of the Year and WAIS Athlete with a Disability of the Year.

Cyclist Luke Durbridge was named Junior Athlete of the Year for his efforts in becoming the first Australian male cyclist to win a world title on both the track and the road in the same year when he won the road time trial and the madison at the UCI Junior World Championships in Moscow.

Wheelchair basketballer Justin Eveson was named Athlete with a Disability of the Year after helping to lead the Australian Rollers to a World Championship in Sydney in August. Following the event he was named to the World All Star Five, adding to an array of achievements for the year which included a national title with the Perth Wheelcats and Finals MVP in the national league.

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