By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
EJ Obiena hopes to fine-tune himself for two important events when he sees action against an elite field, including world No. 1 Armand Duplantis of Sweden, in the 62nd Ostrava Golden Spike Tuesday, June 27, at the Mestsky Stadion in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
The Ostrava joust will serve as a gauge for Paris Games bidders as it draws practically the who’s who in pole vault with the presence of Norwegian Paul Haugen Lillefosse, Australian Kurtis Marschall and Greece’s Emmanouil Karalis.
Also lined up in the event are France’s Thibaut Collet, Poland’s Piotr Fox, Norway’s Simon Guttormsen and Paul Haugen Lillefosse, and hometown bets David Bare and Tax Bart.
After the Czech meet, Obiena will have a four-day respite before plunging into action anew in the Bauhaus-Galan on July 2 in Stockholm, Sweden, which is part of the prestigious Wanda Diamond League calendar.
The Stockholm meet will have a stronger cast that include Duplantis, Marschall, Lillefosse, world No. 4 and 2016 Rio Olympics champion Thiago Braz of Brazil, world No. 5 Renaud Lavillenie of France, world No. 7 Sondre Guttormsen of Norway and world No. 12 Ben Broeders of Belgium.
Obiena will then cap off his stint in France on July 7 for the Meeting International de Sotteville 2023.
Both the Stockholm and Sweden meets are qualifiers for Paris Games and Obiena needs to pass the qualifying standard of 5.82m.
Seeking a second Olympic appearance, Obiena boasts of new national and Asian marks of 6.00 meters he made at the Bergen Jump Challenge in Norway early this month.