Pole vaulter EJ Obiena joins an elite cast spearheaded by world record holder Mondo Duplantis in the Mondo Classic 2023 happening on Thursday, Feb. 2, at the IFU Arena in Upsalla, Sweden.
The 11-player field is composed of the sport’s cream of the crop that include two-time world champion Sam Kendricks and Olympian KC Lightfoot of the United States, 2016 Rio Olympics gold medalist Thiago Braz of Brazil, 2022 European Championships silver medalist Bo Kanda Lita Baehre of Germany, former European U23 champion Ben Broeders of Belgium, two-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist Kurtis Marschall of Australia, 2019 European U20 champion Pal Haugen Lillefosse of Norway, 2019 Mediterranean U23 Indoor Championships silver medalist Thibaut Collet of France, and 2016 European Youth Champion Emmanouil Karalis of Greece.
Except for Collet, all participants competed in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with Duplantis clinching the gold medal and Braz the bronze.
Obiena, Lightfoot, Marschall, Karalis and Lita Baehre also competed in the final round of the Olympiad with the PH bet finishing tied at 11th with Lita Baehre.
Seven of the 11 players are also inside the Top 10 world rankings headed by world No. 1 Duplantis followed by Obiena (No. 3), Braz (No. 4), Lita Baehre (No. 7), Broeders (No. 8), Lillefosse (No. 9) and Lightfoot (No. 10).
Obiena has so far competed in two European indoor events with podium finishes – a silver at the International Jump Meeting in Cottbus, Germany last week and a gold in the Perche En Or in Roubaix, France over the weekend.
He hopes to sustain that momentum in the event rated as Indoor Tour – Challenger by World Athletics.