Reigning world champions across the kata discipline and every kumite weight category have entered the Karate1 Premier League's traditional season curtain-raiser in Paris this weekend, the World Karate Federation has confirmed.
The competition in the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games host city often attracts a stellar field and this year has proved to be no different.
The competing athletes will battle it out for the first major gold medal of the year at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin from tomorrow.
The event concludes with a packed day of finals on Sunday (January 28).
Egypt's Giana Lofty arrives in the French capital hoping to continue an unbeaten run which stretches back three years in the women's under-61 kilograms kumite category, while Rafael Aghayev of Azerbaijan is the favourite in the under-75kg kumite division.
The Japanese duo of Ryo Kiyuna and Kiyou Shimizu, the current world champions in the women's and men's kata events respectively, are also set to participate in Paris.
Alexandra Recchia and Emily Thou, world title holders at under-50kg and under-55kg respectively, will headline the 48-strong French contingent.
The duo will be joined by the likes of World Championships under-67kg bronze medallist Steven Da Costa.
"The level of French karate is extremely high, and there is a lot of competence in all the categories," Da Costa said.
"I must fight hard in all the competitions to keep my place because it is at stake in every tournament.
"For me, it is not such a big issue (to have the support of the stands) since my family comes along to all my travels.
"Nonetheless, it is always nice to compete at home."