ROME: Australia's Olympic pole vault champion Steve Hooker said he was feeling "really, really good" after finally getting off the ground in international competition for the first time this year.
The 29-year-old only managed one good jump at 5.42 metres to finish joint sixth in Thursday's Diamond League meeting in Rome but that was a marked improvement on his previous outing in Shanghai, where he failed to get into the air in three attempts.
Hooker has been battling psychological problems he compares to the "yips" golfers suffer and only made the qualifying height for the London Games (5.72m) last month at an event organised by a sponsor in Western Australia.
The former world champion's evening in Rome ended with three failed attempts at 5.60m, well shy of his personal best of 6.06m, but Hooker declared himself satisfied with the progress he was making.
"I've come here and I've done some good training," he said in an Athletics Australia release. "The body is feeling good and I'm working with the physio over here.
"I had a really, really good warm-up. Everything went according to plan up until 5.60m where I had that stop on the first attempt, which probably cost me.
"For me today it was all about feeling good. Yesterday I felt bad in warm-up but today I felt really, really good.
"I probably made one mistake today at 5.60m and that's something I've got to work on for my next competition which is a street meet in Munich."