The world’s best foil fencers are gathered in Russia and Germany ahead of the latest International Fencing Federation (FIE) World Cup events for men and women, respectively.
And the world's best male epee athletes are doing likewise in Cali, Colombia, where the latest in the FIE Epee Grand Prix series starts tomorrow.
The men’s foil World Cup , which starts tomorrow in Saint Petersburg, features Italy’s individual Rio 2016 champion Daniele Garozzo and reigning individual world champion Alessio Foconi, who is top-ranked.
Among the United States entries are men's world number one Race Imboden – ranked third – and his Rio 2016 team-mates Alexander Messialas and Gerek Meinhardt.
Also likely to pose a strong challenge is Britain’s Richard Kruse, ranked second,
The US also field 2018 world junior champion Nick Itkin.
Qualifying will take place tomorrow, with individual finals on Saturday and team finals on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the FIE women’s foil World Cup will be taking place at Tauberbischofsheim in Germany, following the same competition pattern as the men’s.
Inna Deriglazova, Russia’s individual Rio 2016 champion, is top-ranked.
Italy will have huge hopes in both the individual and team event, however, given the presence of second-ranked Alice Volpi, the 2018 world champion, fourth-ranked Arianna Erigo and 10th-ranked Elisa Di Francisca, the London 2012 individual champion.
Lee Kiefer of the United States is ranked third.
Some 183 fencers have entered the men’s epee Grand Prix that will run at Cali, in Colombia, from tomorrow until Sunday.
Italy’s Gabriele Cimini, beaten in the final of the men’s epee World Cup held in March in Buenos Aires, will seek to go one better against a field that does not contain any athletes from Russia – whose Sergey Bida won gold in Argentina.
But the opposition will be of top quality, given the presence of South Korea’s Rio 2016 individual champion Park Sang-young. France’s top-seeded 2018 world champion and Rio 2016 team gold medallist Yannick Borel and Ukraine’s second-seeded Bogdan Nikishin.
One of the beaten semi-finalists from Buenos Aires, Hungary’s András Rédli, will be present, but the other, Curtis McDowald, is not included in a 12-strong United States team.