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Hooker Wins Indoor World Championship
15 March 2010

Reigning world, Olympic and Commonwealth pole vault champion Steve Hooker and Australian Flame teammate Fabrice Lapierre have taken out world indoor victories on a golden night for Australia at the world indoor championships in Doha, Qatar, this weekend.

Day two of the world indoor meet saw four Australians line up at the Aspire Dome, Hooker and Lapierre joined in the finals action by world championships long jump bronze medallist Mitchell Watt, who added world indoor bronze to his burgeoning career resume, and shot putter Scott Martin, who placed eighth.

Hooker, the 27-year-old captain of the Australian Flame and undisputed king of international pole vault, took victory with a leap of 6.01m and now owns all four major international crowns, adding world indoor honours to the 2009 world championships (5.90m), 2008 Olympic (5.96m) and 2006 Commonwealth Games (5.80m) titles already lining his trophy cabinet.

The Western Australian Institute of Sport vaulter and bronze medallist at the 2008 edition of the world indoor meet held in Valencia, Spain, tonight opened his campaign with a first-up clearance of 5.70m then sailed over 5.80m on his first attempt.

With victory in the bag after German Malte Mohr came unstuck at 5.85m, Hooker set his sights on the championship record height of 6.01m and soared over the bar on his third and final attempt to record his first clearance over 6.00m for 2010.

Three failed attempts at the world record height of 6.16m did nothing to dampen the spirits of an ecstatic Hooker.

"I feel fantastic, I'm very, very happy,” he said.

"I was very happy with my jump at 6.01m, it felt like I had done everything right. It was exciting to break the championship record and it felt as good as I have ever jumped in my career.”

Despite missing out on the world mark Hooker said he would take confidence from his final sky-high attempt at 6.16m.

"I think it was fantastic, the biggest jump I've ever done in a competition. To know that it's there is really promising," he said.

Running through on his first attempt at the height and stalling on the pole on the second, Hooker said nerves were not to blame for missing the mark in Doha tonight.

"It wasn't nerves, I was ready to jump it," he said.

In the long jump pit Lapierre made an unsettled start to competition, posting two fouls before finding his stride to leap beyond 8.00m on three consecutive occasions.

Following jumps of 8.01m and 8.09m in Rounds 3 and 4 respectively, Lapierre nailed the winning leap of 8.17m on his fifth attempt and held on to secure victory.

The two-time World Athletics Final champion (2008, 2009) and No. 1 ranked qualifier going into tonight's final was rapt to take out his maiden indoor championship on a huge night for Australian athletics.

"My jump was not that great but it was good enough for gold,” Lapierre said.

"If I needed to I think I could have chased today, I was in the lead and I am not used to being in the lead so I just held on for victory.

"It means a lot to win here. It builds my confidence and now I can look forward to the summer season.

"Two gold medals for Australia today; we are improving as a team.”
 
Hooker win- Athletics Australia
   
 
 
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