Bubka has words for Hooker in Cairns
WORLD record holder Sergey Bubka knows a thing or two about what is going through Steven Hooker%u2019s mind at the moment.
The Ukrainian pole vault champion battled Soviet boycotts, injuries and his share of poor form during a Hall of Fame career that produced six IAAF World Championships, an Olympic gold and 35 combined indoor and outdoor pole vaulting world records.
So, when he watches Australia’s pole vault champion Hooker fail to find form in the lead-up to his Olympic title defence, a simple solution comes to mind.
Forget about everything and just focus on technique.
"The most important (thing is that) he must work hard … he must believe in himself," explained Bubka, who was in Cairns yesterday for a function to celebrate his induction into the IAAF Hall of Fame.
Technique was the one thing Bubka could rely on during his 16 years as the world champion.
He never focused on results – only inconsistencies in technique that could be ironed out and perfected – and the results followed.
The 48-year-old has not competed since bowing out at the 2000 Sydney Olympics but he remains involved with the sport through his role as vice president of the IAAF.
It was that role that brought Bubka to last year’s Daegu World Championships, where he gave a struggling Hooker some one-on-one advice.
"I advised him to analyse the technique to see from where the mistake (was) coming and to work very close with the coach," Bubka said.
But Hooker has been unable to capture the form that saw him win the Olympic title and two World Championships in a three-year stretch from 2008. The 29-year-old’s public battle with injury and self-confidence has become one of the most compelling stories in Australia’s Olympic
Getting free advice has not been a problem. Every would-be sport psychologist in Australia has a different take on how Hooker can rediscover the form that saw him record the second highest clearance of all time.
But the greatest pole vaulter of them all believes Hooker’s revival must come from within his own camp.
"I didn’t see his training, if I see I can have some tips or maybe some advice," Bubka said.
"But from outside, you don’t know many things. Of course, most importantly, he must work hard, he must believe in himself."
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High flyer: The world's greatest pole vaulter, Ukrainian Sergey Bubka, is in Cairns to be inducted into the IAAF Hall of Fame and to attend the Oceania Athletics Championships, starting today.