Born in Torino, Italy, in 1958, climber Marco Maria Scolaris turned his passion for the mountains into his profession, becoming a journalist and photographer. Involved in Sport Climbing since the first organised Lead competition, SportRoccia, in 1985, Scolaris was also among the founding members of FASI (the Italian Sport Climbing Federation: Federazione Arrampicata Sportiva Italiana) in 1988, acting as its Sport Director for 10 years. On the International competition scene, he became a Judge as well as a trainer for new Judges and, having attended over 40 international events as an Official, Scolaris was one of the leaders in the development of climbing competitions within the UIAA. In 2007, with a vision to further shape the future of Sport Climbing and in agreement with the UIAA, Scolaris created a new International Federation to govern the sport: the IFSC. Elected IFSC President in 2009 and re-elected in 2013 and 2017, Marco Scolaris is working to lead Sport Climbing to a youthful and urban future. Securing Sport Climbing’s presence at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, Scolaris is now guiding the sport onwards and upwards to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and beyond.
Debbie Gawrych is the Secretary General of the IFSC. She has served in that position for almost eight years after joining the IFSC Management Committee in 2004. Debbie began her Sport Climbing management positions as a volunteer coordinator for the Junior Climbing Competition Association (JCCA) in the USA, working her way up to the role of President of USA Climbing from 2003-2006. She served as the IFSC Vice-President of Finance for two terms before her current second term as Secretary General. Debbie is an active athlete and in addition to climbing has competed in running, triathlons and tennis. Her experience in business (MBA and currently a Leadership Management Consultant) as well as competitive sports has helped her work with the IFSC staff and Executive Board to elevate the organisation and professionalism of the IFSC as a whole. Beginning in 2019, Debbie has begun to work more closely with the Strategic aspects of the IFSC; creating a global Strategic Plan from 2019-2025, and improving strategic and operational functions of key areas working alongside the staff in Marketing & Communications, Membership, Governance and Administration.
Born in Yokohama, Japan in 1967, Kobinata started climbing in his teenage years, travelling the world in search of new crags and challenges. Having competed at a domestic level, Kobinata began his climbing career as a Routesetter in the 1990’s, acting also as a Judge and manager of the Japanese National Youth Team. Involved with the Japan Mountaineering and Sport Climbing Association (JMSCA) since the nineties, Kobinata was elected Vice-President of the IFSC Asian Council 2013-2017, was a proud member of the IFSC 2020 bidding team, and is now IFSC Vice-President of Sport and Events. Kobinata is also Vice-President of the Japan Urban Sports Support Committee (JUSC). Aside from climbing, Kobinata graduated with a degree in Economics from Yokohama City University and owns his own business.
Li Zhixin (Chinese 李致新; Pinyin Lǐ Zhìxīn) was born in Dalian, located in the Chinese Province of Liaoning, in 1962. A leading Chinese mountaineer, Li Zhixin and partner Wang Yongfeng (王勇峰) became the first Chinese couple to climb the Seven Summits on 23rd June 1999. Li Zhixin graduated from the Wuhan Institute of Geology in 1985, where he begun his mountaineering career within the Institute’s Mountaineering Team the previous year. Director of the Mountaineering Sports Administrative Centre (MSAC) of the State General Administration of Sports, Li Zhixin is also Executive Vice-President of the Chinese Mountaineering Association (CMA) and IFSC Vice-President Communication.
Prior to his current role as Director of the French Federation of Mountaineering and Climbing (FFME), Pierre-Henri was National Coach for the FFME from 1992-1998. Having worked as Organisational Director for the IFSC World Championships 2012 and 2016, Paris, Pierre-Henri is now Vice-President Treasurer and Finances of the IFSC. A passionate climber as well as a Mountain Guide and ski instructor, Pierre-Henri has been heavily involved in the development of Sport Climbing competitions since the beginning. His dream was to see Sport Climbing feature in the Olympic Games, which will become a reality in Tokyo 2020.
As President of the Athletes’ Commission, Sean’s role is to share the voice of the athletes with the Executive Board and advocate on their behalf. Since starting climbing in 1997, Sean has now competed in almost 150 IFSC World Cups, winning 5 events and appearing on the podium a further 23 times. Based in North Vancouver, Canada, Sean has played an active role in coaching the Canadian Youth National Teams, acting as head and assistant coach from 2009-2013. Sean was re-elected as Athlete Representative during the IFSC World Championships 2016 in Paris.
Based in Munich, Germany, Wolfgang is currently Managing Director of Climbing and Mountain Sports at the Deutscher Alpenverein (DAV) (German Alpine Club). With a sporting background, Wolfgang has a Master’s in Sport Management and a PhD in Sport Science. After attending the UIAA PA in 1998 on behalf of the DAV, Wolfgang acted as a delegate and then member of the Management Committee of organisations engaged in international Sport Climbing. As President and one of the founding members of the IFSC European Council, Wolfgang’s role encompasses the strategy and structural development of Sport Climbing in Europe and as such, Wolfgang is the European Continental Council representative on the IFSC Executive Board. Wolfgang feels that the inclusion of Sport Climbing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is the crowning achievement of efforts made by the IFSC and its Member Federations.
Romain has been climbing since he could walk. He started his climbing journey in the French alps and reached many summits over the years. Romain’s academic background is in engineering and he graduated with a Master of Civil Engineering. He now works in the Australian Climbing Industry running his own business. Romain has been largely involved in the development of Sport Climbing Australia and subsequently the development of Sport Climbing in Australia as a whole. Romain has been on the Board of SCA since 2013 and Chair since 2016. In early 2017 Romain joined the IFSC Executive Board, as President of the Oceania Council.
Born in Spain but spending most of her years in Montreal, a French Canadian city, Maria speaks three languages fluently and feels simultaneously European and American. A former Gymnast and Gymnastics coach, it was during her studies in Physical Education and subsequently as a Master’s student in Biomechanics that Maria found climbing. As the owner and Director of one of the first and largest climbing gyms in Canada for the last 25 years, Maria has organised both regional and international climbing competitions and developed climbing programs for youths and adults from beginners to athletes. Maria was co-founder of the Canadian Competition Climbing Federation (CEC), of which she was President for four years. She became involved with the IFSC in 2009 after hosting the North American Championships in Montreal, when she was invited to attend the IFSC Plenary Assembly in Turin, Italy and the Pan American Council meeting. Now President of the IFSC Pan-American Council, Maria’s role within the Executive Board is to represent the Pan-American Council.
President of the Singapore Mountaineering Federation since 2015, Anthony is also President of the IFSC Asian Council Board and as such, it is his role to represent the continent of Asia on the IFSC Executive Board. An avid climber, Anthony has made first ascents of both traditional and sport routes in Singapore.
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