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IFSC Releases COVID-19 Guidelines for International Competitions


The International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) has released an addendum to the event rulebook for organising international competitions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Following two months of research led by a dedicated COVID-19 working group, these protocols have been written and approved with input from global indoor climbing industry bodies and national federations.

Alannah Yip competing in the PanAmerican Continental Championships earlier this year.  © IFSC
Alannah Yip competing in the PanAmerican Continental Championships earlier this year.

As the COVID-19 situation is changing daily across the globe and responses differ in each country, 'The main point is understanding the overview of the current COVID-19 situation by the EO (Event Organisers),' the addendum reads.

'IFSC staff, in the months preceding the event, will regularly check and analyse together with EO Event Organisers and local responsible staff:

- the latest available guidance on the COVID-19 outbreak;

- the global and local daily situation reports;

- the risks and transmission routes of COVID-19;

- the steps that event attendees can take to limit spread;

- the recognised best practices (including respiratory etiquette, hand hygiene, physical distancing, etc.);

- the travel restrictions adopted by different countries that may affect the mass gathering.'

The decision on including spectators and related social distancing rules will depend on organising country rules and regulations, according to the document.

While the majority of the 2020 IFSC competition season has been postponed or cancelled, the Lead World Cup round in Xiamen, China is scheduled to take place in October and the four Continental Championship events - which will select the remaining eight Olympic quota spots - have been rescheduled to November and December.

Some key changes:

  • A Competition Doctor will be appointed as Emergency COVID-19 Outbreak Response Coordinator
  • Temperature checks will be performed for athletes and officials upon entering warm-up/isolation zones
  • Hand rub/sanitiser will available in key areas at the venue, entrances/exits/toilets
  • Masks must be worn on site by officials, athletes and volunteers
  • In the event of a (supposed) positive case on site, the Technical Delegate will inform team managers and the IFSC President will make a decision as to the event's continuation
  • To avoid gatherings, there will be no screened qualifying route demonstration videos; these will be available to watch individually via a YouTube link instead
  • There will be no results board at the venue; results will be posted online instead
  • Athletes must wear masks (unbranded) in isolation/warm-up and transition areas and during route preview
  • No warm-up walls will be available, but athletes can bring a portable hangboard.
  • Athletes will be allowed 45 minutes to warm up. The first athlete will enter the warm up zone 45 minutes before climbing time, then each athlete will be allowed entry in staggered 5 minute intervals
  • Food and water will not be provided for common use in isolation/warm-up zones
  • Each athlete must bring a personal beach towel for use on chairs to avoid contamination through sweat
  • In Boulder events, hand gel will be provided for use before and after each boulder
  • A personal rope for Lead must be used per competitor or per national team, to be decided by each team.
  • Belay devices and autobelays will be sanitised after each round
  • No brushers must be allowed on mats. Athletes must brush holds themselves.
  • Paper scorecards will not be used. Results will be displayed on screens in the isolation zone for verification by athletes.
  • Athletes do not need to wear a mask for the entirety of the awards ceremony, but prizegivers will wear masks and athletes will collect medals/flowers directly from the tray
  • No hugs/kisses/handshakes on the podium
Read the addendum here.

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