Wednesday, 06 March 2019 12:13

IFSC Officials Make Final Preparations for the 2019 Season

The Annual IFSC Officials Seminar took place on 16-17th February in Turin, Italy, home to the IFSC Headquarters. IFSC Officials including Technical Delegates, Jury Presidents, Judges and Routesetters joined IFSC President Marco Maria Scolaris, along with members of the IFSC Executive Board and Staff, to make final preparations ahead of the upcoming 2019 season which will start in Meiringen, Switzerland on 5th April.

Prior to the Officials Seminar, Technical Delegates and Jury Presidents met on Friday 15th February to discuss topics outside of the weekend’s programme. Members of the Routesetters Commission met separately at the IFSC Headquarters to run through updates around the Commission, before meeting with all 2019 nominated Routesetters the following day.

The Officials Seminar commenced on Saturday morning, with a welcome address from President Scolaris and an overview of the Sport Department’s trajectory in the approach to Tokyo 2020 from IFSC Vice-President Sport/Events Kobinata Toru. Silvia Verdolini, IFSC Sport Director, then provided an update on the Sport Department’s structure, introducing new Sport Assistant Hazel (Haesol) Han and offering insight into organisational charts both in and outside of IFSC events. Ms Verdolini also outlined the IFSC Official Sport Equipment project, which aims to create a fairer field of play across the event calendar, as well as improvements to the presentation of our sport moving forward.

“The Officials Seminar provided the perfect opportunity to formally introduce the IFSC Officials to the Official Sport Equipment project,” announced Sport Director Silvia Verdolini. “Moving forward, the Officials will create IFSC events using only Official Sport Equipment, so this was a great time to talk through the catalogue’s implications and plans for implementation.”


IFSC Sport Director Silvia Verdolini updates the Seminar on the structure of the Sport Department.

IFSC Event Officer Alessandro Di Cato then continued with a rundown of the 2019 calendar and events, before the Officials participated in a practical debrief of the 2018 season, ensuring that last year’s challenges transform into strong points for the 2019 season. Debra Gawrych, IFSC Secretary General, at this point joined the seminar to deliberate the direction in which our sport is heading in 2019, ahead of a talk from Director of the IFSC Ethics Commission Marc Le Menestrel on corruption and ethics in sport.


Marc Le Menestral, Director of the IFSC Ethics Commission, shares his findings with the IFSC team.

Saturday afternoon saw the Officials split into two groups, where Jury Presidents and Judges were presented with a new result system by Vertical-Life CEO Matthias Polig, Head of Development Iiro Virtanen, Software Engineer Saulius Astromskis and Lead Interaction Design Riccardo Zecchini, before preparing for the 2019 season with a consideration of competition rules. Routesetters carried out a further debrief of the 2018 season, preceding an address of the Routesetters’ mandate agreement and Routesetting guidelines.


Matthias Polig, CEO of Vertical-Life shares the new result system for IFSC events with the Officials.

Day one concluded with a report on Paraclimbing from IFSC Paraclimbing Development Officer Daniel Torchia, prior to the full presentation of his findings surrounding Paraclimbing research at the 2019 IFSC Plenary Assembly in Tokyo next month. IFSC Officials, President Scolaris, Secretary General Debra Gawrych, VP Sport/Events Kobinata Toru and IFSC Staff then met for a dinner in the city, allowing stories of IFSC events to be shared and a team-feel to take hold.

“The aim of the Officials Seminar is not only to inform the Officials of the changes to be implemented over the coming season, but also to create synergy amongst the IFSC team,” stated President Scolaris. “To push the boundaries of our sport and put on the best events possible we all, from IFSC Officials to IFSC Staff and Executive Board members, must work together as one team.”


IFSC President Marco Scolaris welcomes IFSC Officials in Turin.

Continuing the team-building theme, Sunday started with a talk on teamwork from guest speaker Giovanbattista Venditti, an Italian rugby union player who plays not only for Zebre, but for the Italian national rugby union team. Marc Le Menestrel then added to his work from the Ethics Commission, baring the promising news that Sport Climbing has not yet succumbed to corruption. An overview of the 2019 rules was then offered, with the impact they may have on both Judges and Routesetters.

With just over one year to go until the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, preparations were put forward for the Tokyo 2020 Sport Climbing events. As Sport Climbing will feature in multiple Multi-Sport events in 2019, the Urban Bouldering Format was then addressed, which will come into play in said Games throughout the coming season.

“With the inclusion of Sport Climbing in the Urban Park at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 and the Aomi Urban Sports Venue at the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, it is important to work closely with the IFSC Officials to guide our sport during its development as an Urban sport,” explained IFSC VP Sport/Events Kobinata Toru.


IFSC Vice-President Sport/Events Kobinata Toru talks Tokyo 2020.

Sunday afternoon saw the Jury Presidents and Judges separate from the Routesetters once more to further discuss 2019 rules, whilst the Routesetters talked about National Federation training requests and the Routesetter career path. Technical Delegates and Jury Presidents ended the seminar with a discussion on how to better manage risks across events, prior to a training session for the Jury Presidents before the start of the 2019 season.

The 2019 season kicks off on 5th April with the first Bouldering World Cup of the year in Meiringen, Switzerland.

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