World No. 3 EJ Obiena attempts to prove that his previous victory over Olympic champion Armand Duplantis was not a fluke when they see action on Friday in the powerhouse Mondo Classic in Uppsala, Sweden.
Last time they were in the same tournament, Obiena, 27, stunned Duplantis in the Brussels Diamond League last September by doing 5.91 meters.
Duplantis, 23, could only clear 5.81 meters, an effort that was uncharacteristic for the man who holds the world record of 6.21 meters.
Also entered in the 11-man field are two-time world champion Sam Kendricks and KC Lightfoot of the United States, 2016 Rio Olympics champion and training partner Thiago Braz of Brazil, 2022 European Under-23 titlist Ben Broeders of Belgium and two-time Commonwealth games gold medalist Kurtis Marschall of Australia.
Not to be taken for granted are 2019 European Under-20 champion Pal Haugen Lillefosse of Norway, 2019 Mediterranean Under-23 Indoor second-placer Thibaut Collet of France and 2016 European Youth champion Emmanouil Karalis of Greece.
Obiena admits he has to be at his best to repeat the win over Duplantis.
“Competing at the House of Mondo, I want to have the best shot of going head-to-head with this guy (Duplantis),” the Italy-based Obiena said.
Crucial in getting the job done for Obiena will be preventing to put too much strain on his left knee that was operated on last year as well as achieving optimum conditioning.
“Right now, we are being smart when it comes to my knee. We do more strengthening to compensate for lack of explosive workouts,” he added.
Despite this, Obiena seems to be on track.
Last week, Obiena ruled the Perche en Or Stab Velodrome tournament in Roubaix, France, with a 5.77 meters.
Before stamping his class on French soil, Obiena grabbed second-place honors at the Internationales-Springer Meeting in Cottbus, Germany.