Karate-1 Premier League Kicks Off 2018 In Paris
The first of ten Karate-1 Premier League events in 2018 begin on Friday, as the top karateka from around the world, descend on Paris, France for three days of competition at the Pierre de Coubertin Sports Centre.
As karate’s first appearance in the Olympics draws closer, nearly 800 competitors from 81 counties, including defending world champion Azerbaijan’s Rafael Aghayev, look to set the pace for what will be a very competitive year. Also competing on the road to Tokyo in 2020, world champions Giana Lotfy from Egypt, and Ryo Kiyuna and Kiyou Shimizu from Japan.
The current Grand Winners are also expected to take the spotlight in Paris including Kata world ranking leaders Damian Quintero and Sandra Sanchez of Spain and Japan’s Ayumi Uekusa and Ryutaro Araga, among others.
The Grand Winners participating in Paris will have for the first time, special karate-gis with the gold embroidery on the shoulders.
French competitors hope to cause a sensation at home and aim at claiming medals in front of family and friends. World champions Alexandra Recchia and Emily Thouy lead the way for athletes from the host country. Nearly 50 French karateka are hoping to take the flag of the organizing nation to the podium.
Japan dominated last year’s edition of the Karate 1-Premier League in Paris with five golds to a total of 13 medals. The French delegation also presented an outstanding level with nine medals. No less than eight countries took home gold medals in Paris last year.