Chairman’s Message of Welcome

On behalf of the Local Organising Committee and Surf Life Saving Queensland, it is my pleasure to invite all ILS Member Nations to participate in the Lifesaving World Championships 2024 on Australia’s Gold Coast. This is the third Lifesaving World Championships I have had the honour of chairing and with the support of everyone involved, it is my goal to deliver the most inclusive, inspiring and best ever attended Lifesaving World Championships for your enjoyment.

The support offered by the Queensland Government, the City of Gold Coast and our important sponsors, will help make the Lifesaving World Championships 2024 a very memorable experience for our international visitors and all Australians who participate. The beauty and vast range of experiences available on the Gold Coast will make the visit very memorable for competitors, officials, their families and friends from around the World.

Ocean and beach events will be conducted on the pristine beach and parklands at Kurrawa, Broadbeach while all pool competition will be held in the city’s first-class Aquatic Centre at Southport. All meetings, functions and assemblies will be conducted in the Broadbeach precinct close to the beach and surrounded by a range of excellent accommodation and hospitality venues.

If you want to see the World’s best surf lifesavers in action including lifesavers from at least 50 nations and more than 7,000 competitors and officials, we invite you to come along. The Lifesaving World Championships have not been held in Queensland since 1988 and Surf Life Saving Queensland is doing everything to plan and deliver a world class event.

SEE YOU IN 2024!

Ron Rankin AM

Chair & Project Director, Lifesaving World Championships 2024

EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

Gerard is a professional and successful Senior Executive and Director with over 30 years’ experience in strategic leadership, general management, business development, financials reporting, governance, project/change management and risk manager. Gerard has been involved in SLSQ for over 20 years and variety of roles but most recently the Sunshine Coast Branch President. Gerard has MBA from Georgetown University Business School majoring in International Finance, current members of the Certified Practicing Accountant and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Experienced in large and small corporate companies and has industry experience in Not-for-Profit Organisations.
Ron Rankin AM is a long serving and distinguished member of Surf Life Saving Australia, having been actively involved in lifesaving for more than 58 years. Ron is a Past President of Surf Life Saving Australia (9 years) and Surf Life Saving Queensland (13 years). He is a past Director of the International Lifesaving Federation, past Vice President for the Asia Pacific Region and past Chairman of the Southern Region Westpac Lifesaver HRS. This is Ron’s third time as Chair of the Lifesaving World Championships having previously chaired the event in 2006 and 2012. Ron was awarded a World Life Saving Citation in 1986 and International Lifesaving Citations of merit in 1993 and 2006 in recognition of his selfless dedication to aquatic safety internationally. He was given the honour of being named the first Australian Surf Lifesaver of the Year in 1982 and is the only surf lifesaver in Australia to receive this award on two occasions. Ron was named Queensland and Australian Lifesaver of the Year in 1981/82 and 1983/84. In 1998 he was recognized with an Australia Medal (AM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honors List and in 2000 an Australia Sports Medal. At Club level, Ron has held numerous positions including President, Secretary and Treasurer at his beloved Alexandra Headland Surf Life Saving Club. He was awarded Life Membership of the Club in 1983 and Life Governor in 1994. He also received his SLSA Year Patrol Services Award at this Club for over 30 years of active service and was awarded Lifesaver of the Year for his club on 4 separate occasions. Ron has been active in Surf Sports as a competitor, manager and official. He was the Referee for the Queensland Championships for five years and a Sectional Referee at many Australian Championships from 1979. He has also been the Manager for successful Australian Teams competing at an international level.
Dave Whimpey is a highly experienced and respected business leader, currently serving as the CEO of Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ), the peak body for surf lifesaving in Queensland, Australia. With over 25 years of experience in senior management and leadership roles, Dave has an extensive track record of success in both the private and public sectors. Dave’s mantra is strategy, structure, staff, and renewal, creativity, and innovation and believes that intuition is no substitute for deep data analytics, and one must have a keen eye on the numbers to understand and drive the future direction of the business.
David is an active member of the Currumbin Surf Life Saving Club and volunteers for Surf Life Saving Queensland Operations Support. As Chief Financial Officer for Surf Life Saving Queensland, David provides support to strategic execution and change management. David is a strategic thinker with extensive financial and commercial experience across a diverse range of industries. Working together to deliver sustainable funding and support growth is his mantra. He brings a wealth of expertise in financial analysis and project controllership, with a proven track record of delivering organisational performance improvements. David is also Surf Life Saving Queensland’s Company Secretary.

our ambassadors

Adam is a life-long member of the Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club. He has been a successful competitor at all levels of surf sport competition, is a recipient of the Australian Sports Medal, and has held a variety of roles at both Surf Life Saving State and National levels. He is Chair of the International Life Saving (ILS) Rescue Commission and a member of the International Life Saving Rescue Operations Committee. Adam is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and was appointed to the role of Chief Executive Officer of Surf Life Saving Australia in June 2018.
Andrew is a third generation Life Member of Alexandra Headland Surf Life Saving Club in Queensland, Australia. Commencing junior activities at the age seven, he gained his Bronze Medallion in 1980 and has held up to 25 lifesaving awards. Competing across all facets of lifesaving competition Andrew has represented his State of Queensland and Australia in craft and IRB racing. He worked as a full-time professional lifeguard on Australia’s Sunshine Coast then went on to hold the positions of Development Officer and Lifesaving Services Manager for Surf Life Saving Queensland from 1989 to 1998. Starting as a carnival Official in 1990 Andrew has served as Referee of the Queensland State Championships for six years, Deputy Referee of the Australian Championships for eight years, Referee of the Australian Championships for six 6 years, Referee of the Kellogg’s Nutrigrain Ironman/Ironwoman Series for 16 years and Referee of the Coolangatta Gold for five years. Since 2017 he has carried out the the responsibilities of Chair of the Sport Advisory Committee for Surf Life Saving Australia and continues to coach Masters athletes at Alexandra Headland Surf Life Saving Club.
Arno’s lifelong passion for lifesaving started as a lifeguard at the age of 12 years old and he has been a Technical Official since the age of 16. He holds a German lifesaving certificate in Bronze, Silver and Gold, is a pool lifesaving instructor and a rescue boat driver. He has been President of a German Lifesaving Club for 15 years and some of his proudest achievements in this role include construction of a club house and acquisition of a rescue boat and a car for his club. Since 1996 Arno has been an International Referee for pool competition and since 1998 an International Referee for ocean competition. He has held the responsibility of Chief Referee at several Lifesaving World Championships, the last one being for the National Open competition in Italy in 2023. Arno is a member of the ILSE College of Referees and a Member of the ILS Sports Commission Rulebook Committee. In 2023 Arno will be attending in an Official capacity at the 1st round of the DLRG Trophy, the DLRG Cup in Warnemuende, European Championships in Belgium and the German Cup in Warendorf.
Aya Tanaka is a member of the Kamogawa Lifesaving Club in Japan. Aya specialises in beach sprints and beach flags and has represented the Japanese National Team at the Lifesaving World Championship 2018 in Adelaide, Australia and at the Lifesaving World Championship 2022 in Riccione, Italy. Aya Tanaka is a member of the Kamogawa Lifesaving Club in Japan. Aya specialises in beach sprints and beach flags and has represented the Japanese National Team at the Lifesaving World Championship 2018 in Adelaide, Australia and at the Lifesaving World Championship 2022 in Riccione, Italy.
Brian Velvin has been actively involved in lifesaving for over 60 years. He joined the Fitzroy Surf Lifesaving Club in New Zealand as a 10-year-old where he gained his Surf Medallion and qualified as a lifeguard. He is now a Life Member of the Fitzroy Surf Lifesaving Club, Surf Lifesaving Taranaki and Surf Lifesaving New Zealand. He competed in swimming, rescue and resuscitation, surf boat and IRB events and was selected to represent Taranaki at the age of 16. He carried on to win national titles then followed this in coaching roles including being Team Manager of the Alan Gardner winning Club team. Brian became an Official and quickly advanced to national status. During this time, he managed multiple national and international events for all lifesaving disciplines. He was on the national Competition Appeals Committee, is a Level 2 Surf Official assessor, past Chair of the Sport Committee and Surf Officials Advisory Group. Brian has also been involved at an administration level for lifesaving, starting at Club level followed by national responsibilities including five years as Chief Superintendent, nine years as a board member with four of those years as Chairman of the Board. In 1984 his international involvement commenced at the World Championships in Hawaii. Since then he has been involved as an Official at 12 Lifesaving World Championships and delivered papers at two international events on various lifesaving topics. He has held the position of Vice Chairman of the International Sports Commission and was elected to the Board of Directors for International Lifesaving. Brian’s awards include Westpac “Outstanding Rescue of the Year”, Queens Honour of “MNZM” for services to lifesaving and is a “Grand Knight in the Order of Lifesaving”.
Attaining his Surf Lifeguard Award in 1979 Bruce has involved himself in everything surf lifesaving offers. This includes Club Instructor, Regional Lifeguard, Regional Representative, recipient of Club and Regional Service Awards, Life Membership of the Eastern Region and more recently Nationals Event Referee and Sectional Referee at LWC 2018. Bruce is a surf boat rower who has Chaired the National Surf Boat Committee for the past five years and is currently the New Zealand Team Manager of the Oar Blacks male and female Surf Boat Representative Team. Bruce is a delegate on the ILS Rules and Regulations Committee reporting to the ILS Sport Commission. He is extremely passionate to see continued membership led progression of our volunteers, supported by staff who see the value and experience that we all bring by way of our motto “In it for Life.”
Carol Fox, Deputy President of Surf Life Saving Queensland, has played a pivotal role as one of the early trailblazers for women in sport and surf lifesaving in Australia. As a Life Member of Lorne SLSC in Victoria, Carol has contributed significantly to various committee roles while showcasing her athletic prowess as a competitive swimmer, board, ski, and ironman participant. Her ground-breaking achievements include being Victoria’s first female beach lifeguard and earning the distinction of becoming the state’s first female medallist, securing an impressive third place in the men’s belt race in 1981. Beyond surf lifesaving, Carol has been involved in a range of impactful roles and achievements. She has held the position of President at Women in Sport Australia, served as the Ambassador for the ICC T20 World Cup 2020, served as a Baton Bearer for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, been recognised as one of AFR 100 Women of Influence, and is a Women in Sport Research Ambassador at Victoria University. Furthermore, she has mentored and facilitated the AFL She Can Coach Project while also serving as the Patron of the AFL Premiership Players Club. Carol Fox’s remarkable journey stands as a testament to her unwavering passion, dedication, and ability to inspire others. Her achievements have not only propelled her own success but have also paved the way for countless women in the realm of sport and surf lifesaving.
Since the late 1970s, Chi has been working diligently with her husband to develop lifesaving throughout Japan at club, local and a national level with their goal being to establish a lifesaving organization in Japan. The Chairman of the Lifesaving World Championships 2024, Mr. Ron Rankin AM, was one of the members of Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) to visit Japan in 1983 where a strong bond was established between the two countries. This resulted in significant support being provided by SLSA with great impact for the development of lifesaving in Japan and this still continues today. Chi has been the point of contact for Japan Lifesaving and it is a great honor for her to be appointed as an Ambassador for the Lifesaving World Championships 2024 by the Chair and Project Director, Ron Rankin AM. The first World Championship a Japanese team participated in was Rescue 86 held in Vancouver. Chi has since participated in 11 World Championships as a spectator, a team interpreter, a delegate from Japan Lifesaving Association (JLA) and as an ILS Director, etc. Many of the Japanese athletes who have participated in the World Championships are enthusiastic about promoting lifesaving activities not only through lifesaving sports but also in various fields in which they are now becoming leaders of JLA. This has been a major force in the spread of lifesaving in Japan. At the 2001 World Games held in Akita, Chi took the role of Technical Delegate. At JLA, the International Affairs department was established as a liaison for overseas countries, and for many years Chi led its members as the Chairwoman. Chi continues to play an active role as one of the International Affairs members. Chi’s achievements include Japan Life Guard Association Life Saver of the Year in 1987, Director of Kanagawa Lifesaving Association since 1997, Japan Lifesaving Association Lifesaver of the Year in 2007, Member of the ILS Equity and Diversity Committee (4 years), Director of ILS (Asia Pacific Region) (7 years). Chi was awarded an ILS Dame in the Order of Lifesaving in 2017
Dave Thompson AM has been an active lifesaver for over 47 years. His passion for lifesaving started in 1976 when he joined the Ocean Beach Surf Life Saving Club on the central coast of New South Wales, Australia. He gained his first Bronze Medallion in 1980 and achieved his Qualifying Certificate, Bronze Radio Operations Certificate, ARC, IRB Drivers Certificate, Instructor’s Certificate, ARC Instructors, ARC Examiner, IRB Crewman and Instructors, Radio Instructors and a Silver Medallion for Beach Management. At Club level, some of the position he has held include Club Captain, Club President and Carnival Organiser. Dave has been actively involved with the Surf Life Saving Central Coast Branch for 33 years and with Surf Life Saving New South Wales for 13 years. At a state level, he held the position of NSW Director of Surf Sports for six years, NSW Championship Referee for five years and received a High Commendation for Competition Official of the Year in 1998 and again in 2002. In 2003 he received the NSW/ACT Masons Competition Official of the Year. In 1986 Dave was a member of the Australian delegation for Rescue ’86. He has been involved at a national level ever since in many roles including as an Official, a Referee, chairing Committees and participating on Boards for events such as the Australian Championships, National Surf League, Goodwill Games, Australian Council, National Surf Sports, World Games (Duisburg, Germany and Kaohsiung, Chinese Taipei). At an international level Dave has held the position of ILS Sports Commissioner since 2008. He has convened the ILS Event Management Committee, been a member of the ILS Rules and Technical Committee, a World Games Ocean Referee, on the ILS Board of Directors, Chief Referee at the World Games (Kaohsiung, Chinese Taipei), Competition Manager at the World Games 2022 (Alabama), and Event Director at Rescue 2010 (Egypt), Rescue 2012 (Adelaide) and Rescue 2014 (France), the Lifesaving World Championships 2016 (Netherlands), 2018 (Adelaide) and 2022 (Italy). Dave is a Life Member of the Ocean Beach Surf Life Saving Club, Surf Life Saving Central Coast Branch, Surf Life Saving New South Wales and Surf Life Saving Australia. He has received three ILS Citations of Merit, the ILS President’s Medal and is a member of the ILS Hall of Fame. In 2014 Dave was awarded the ILS Knight in the Order of Lifesaving and in 2019 Member of the Order of Australia.
Volunteering for Drowning prevention and Water Safety is essential for Detlev. For him, a day without engagement in lifesaving is a day he could not imagine. Detlev Mohr has been an active lifesaver and rescue boat driver since 1971. He was a national team competitor and has organised national and international lifesaving competitions such as the World Games 2005, and was Sports Director of the Lifesaving World Championships Rescue 2008 in Germany. He always likes to share his experiences from his long career in international lifesaving. As ILS Custodian of Records, Detlev is still active for the ILS Sport Commission and the ILS Anti-Doping Committee. He founded a Lifesaving Club at the Baltic Sea, was a Senior Instructor for swimming, lifesaving and lifeguarding as well as a Tutor for Risk Assessment and Disaster Response. Detlev held the position of Vice President of DLRG for 24 years and is a DLRG Honorary Member. After holding the position of Secretary General for four years for the European branch of ILS, Detlev became President of ILSE and Vice President of ILS. He is a Grand Knight in the Order of Lifesaving and became the 2022 Member of the ILS Lifesaving Hall of Fame.
Greg Allum is an ILS Grand Knight and a member of the ILS Hall of Fame. He has been a member of the ILS Sport Commission since 1996 and is the current Chair of the ILS Sport Regulations Committee. Greg is also a past ILS Board Member who, as a volunteer member of more than 50 years, is passionate about lifesaving sport to promote the humanitarian goal of improving worldwide water safety. Greg is a past Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) Board Member, Director of Competition, Australian Open Ironman Champion and national representative as an athlete, coach and official. He has been recognised with Life Membership of his Club, Branch, State, SLSA, and is a member of the SLSA Hall of Fame. Greg has been involved in every Lifesaving World Championship since inception of ILS in 1994, either as a member of the LWC Organising and Competition Committees, as a Chief Referee, or in other senior roles. Greg is very enthusiastic about Surf Life Saving Queensland’s planning for LWC 2024 led by past SLSA President and ILS Board Member Ron Rankin AM and his very capable Board and experienced Committee. He is confident that the ILS Meetings and Championships will be the best organised and delivered to date, and is honoured to be an Ambassador assisting to support LWC 2024.
Isabel García Sanz presides over the Royal Spanish Lifesaving Federation (2004) and the Latin American Lifesaving Federation (2005), she is vice-president of the International Lifesaving Federation of Europe (2016) and a member of the Board of the International Lifesaving Federation (2013). Isabel is part of the Spanish Olympic Executive Committee, of which she’s been vice-president (2017-2021), a responsibility she will resume again in September 2023, vice-president of the Mediterranean Lifesaving Confederation (2022) and is part of the Executive and Directive Committees of the Water Sports Atlantic Committee (2022). She has a degree in Primary Education by the University of Valladolid (1996) and a masters degree in Coaching and Sports Leadership by the COE-Barcelona’s University.
Jelle’s passion for lifesaving commenced in 1964 when he joined the Durban Surf Lifesaving Club in Durban, South Africa and gained his Surf Proficiency Award and qualified as a lifeguard. He performed active patrols until 1973 and did “active reserve” patrols on special occasions, such as over Christmas and New Year for a number of years. In 1968 his duty squad won the National Squad of the Year award. Jelle competed in swimming, rescue and resuscitation and later in surf boat events. His competitive years (up to 1973) were followed by coaching the club’s rescue and resuscitation teams and later the provincial teams. Jelle became a Judge in 1969 and started to Officiate post 1973. He has been involved in lifesaving administration, first at his club where he commenced as the Record Clerk, then became the Vice-Club Captain, Secretary and later Chairman. On the provincial side, he was the Provincial Examiner (managing competition and all lifesaving examinations) for a number of years. Regarding involvement in the National Federation, Jelle was the Examiner-in-Chief (managing all national competitions, examinations and patrols) from 1981 to 1989. He then became Surf Chairman, Vice President and later the President of Lifesaving South Africa (1994 to 1998). After his term as President, he held the position of Director of Sport and he served on the Management Board and retired from active national administration in 2010. Jelle is still involved in lifesaving sport as the Event Director of the national championships and he has managed a number of international events hosted in South Africa, such as the International Surf Rescue Challenge and Commonwealth Championships. At an international level Jelle has held various positions at International Life Saving (ILS). He has been a member of the Sport Commission since its inception in 1994 where he held the position of a member, secretary, member of the Event Management Committee and ILS Sport Commissioner from 2000 to 2008. He has also served on the ILS Board-of-Directors as a Vice President (representing the Africa Region). Jelle has attended a number of international conferences and Lifesaving World Championships where he has been a delegate, presenter and session Chairman. He has attended every Lifesaving World Championships (previously known as “Rescue”) since 1994. Over the years he become increasingly more involved in the administration and in recent years he has been a member of the Event Management Committee. Jelle has also attended a number of World Games where he held the position of Event Manager. Jelle is a Life Member of the Durban Surf Lifesaving Club and Lifesaving South Africa and he is an Honorary Member of Suncoast Pirates Surf Life Saving Club. He has received a World Lifesaving Citation of Merit, three ILS Citations of Merit and the Prince Michael of Kent Certificate of Merit. He has been awarded Lifesaving South Africa’s Honours Award and Meritorious Service Award and the Durban Surf Life Saving Club Meritorious Service Award. He received the Kwa Zulu Natal Provincial Sports Award, Administrator of the Year: Gold. Jelle was made a Royal Lifesaving Society Honorary Vice President in 1995 and in 2004 he was awarded ILS Knight in the Order of Lifesaving and in 2009 an ILS Grand Knight. He received the ILS President’s Medal and is a member of the ILS Hall of Fame.
John Baker has been an active lifesaver for 45 years as a patrolling member, competitor and office bearer at club, state, national and international levels. He is a Life Member of Brighton SLSC, Surf Life Saving SA and Surf Life Saving Australia and he was inducted into to SLSSA Hall of Fame in 2021. John is in his third year as National President, having been Deputy National President for five years and State President for 10 years prior to that. John was on the Event Committee for the 2012 Lifesaving World Championships, and he was Chairman of the 2018 Lifesaving World Championships. In 2017 John was awarded the National Emergency Services Medal (ESM) for distinguished service with the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter.
The sport of Lifesaving has been Jolanda’s passion all her life. She has experienced all the mental and physical demands of a top athlete representing the Dutch National Team for 10 years. She competed and won medals at the European World Championships and the World Games. Following this she became the National Coach, a Board Member of Sport and Vice President of the Dutch Lifesaving Organisation. These experiences have allowed Jolanda to build a vast knowledge in the field of lifesaving. She has held many National and International positions and was a member of the ILS Sport Commission for 12 years. In 2016 Jolanda was the President of the Lifesaving World Championships held in the Netherlands. Jolanda is currently Chef de Mission of the National Teams and has returned to the National Federation. She received the honour of a Royal Award – Knight of the Order of Orange Nassau and Dame in the Order of Lifesaving.
Karla Gilbert OAM was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2005 as an Athlete Member for her contribution to the sport of surf lifesaving. Throughout her stunning career, Gilbert won back-to-back world ironwoman championships, 16 Australian and five World Championship gold medals, and countless other surf life-saving titles. These results showed her dominance as the finest female surf lifesaving competitor of her time. In 1990, aged 15 years old, having already won many State and National Junior Championships, Gilbert won on her first attempt in a professional Iron-woman event – which was also the first ever professional Iron-woman race in Australia. This was the start of a ten-year dominance in the sport which saw Gilbert win back-to-back world Iron-woman championships (2000 and 2002), amass seven consecutive Iron-woman series wins (two Devondale series in 1996, and 1997, three Meadow Lea series between 1998 – 2000 and two Kellogg’s series in 2001, 2002), 16 Australian championships (including three Open Iron-woman titles and three Competitor of Carnival titles), seven Queensland Iron-woman titles (1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2003), and numerous state and Australian nipper titles. Gilbert represented Australia at international events including the 1994 and 2002 World Championships, the 2001 Goodwill Games, 2001 World Games, and the 2001 Tri-nations Series. In 2000 she won four Uncle Toby’s races in a row to beat Trevor Hendy’s record of 17 race victories and took that total up to 23 race victories in Iron-woman series race wins. Gilbert retired from the sport that made her a national icon the same way she entered it – a prolific winner. The defining moment in an outstanding 21-year career was when she crossed the line in her very last race – the final round of the 2003 Kellogg’s series doubling as the Australian Iron-woman championships. Through her involvement at the highest-level Gilbert helped to raise public awareness of surf lifesaving in the community and created interest in the sport amongst members and non-members.
Kavita Sharma is a visionary leader and a driving force behind the lifesaving and drowning prevention initiatives in India. As the Founder Trustee and Vice President of Finance and Operations at the Rashtriya Life Saving Society (India) (RLSS[I]), Kavita’s unwavering commitment to water safety and her relentless efforts have had a transformative impact on countless lives. With a remarkable blend of strategic acumen and compassionate leadership, Kavita oversees the Swimming and Lifesaving Training Centres of RLSS(I) as their Director and she introduced the ‘World’s Largest Swim Lesson’ to India in collaboration with the World Water Parks Association. This pioneering endeavour saw swimming facilities across the nation opening their doors to swimmers and supporters of drowning prevention on a designated day in June. Through engaging lessons in safe swimming, Kavita spearheaded a movement that resonated with schools, clubs, and institutions, ultimately earning a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Kavita’s contributions extend internationally as well. As a Commission Member of the Royal Life Saving Society’s 125th Year Celebration Festivities, she showcased her dedication to the global mission of preventing drownings and promoting water safety. In 1998, Kavita embarked on a transformative journey when she, along with her husband Rear Admiral PD Sharma, Retd., launched the Rashtriya Life Saving Society (India). Her relocation to Pune marked the beginning of a new chapter focused on empowering individuals with lifesaving skills. Setting up Swimming and Life Saving Training Centres, Kavita’s vision extended beyond just training lifeguards. She initiated programs that equipped first aiders and lifesavers, coached individuals in swimming, and introduced children to the innovative Swim N Survive Programme. This pioneering initiative not only taught essential swimming skills but also served as a crucial drowning prevention tool. Kavita’s dedication to this cause has yielded remarkable results. Her advocacy and promotion of the Swim N Survive Programme have led to its adoption by schools, institutions, and pools across numerous cities in India. Over 80,000 young people and children have received training in swimming and survival skills in aquatic environments, thus paving the way for a safer and more water-conscious generation. As an Ambassador for the Lifesaving World Championships 2024, Kavita Sharma embodies the spirit of commitment, innovation, and empowerment. Her leadership has not only saved lives but also created a lasting legacy in the field of water safety, inspiring individuals and communities to embrace the importance of drowning prevention and lifeguard training. Kavita’s journey continues to be a beacon of hope, driving positive change and fostering a world where every individual can enjoy water activities with confidence and safety.
Kurt Wilson is a renowned figure in the world of lifesaving and has made significant contributions to the sport over the years. With a career spanning multiple facets of the lifesaving community, Kurt’s expertise and leadership have left an indelible mark on the sport. Kurt currently serves as a General Manager at Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ), where he is entrusted with overseeing and managing various critical departments within the organization. These departments include Sport, Membership, Media and Marketing, Sponsorship and Partnerships, Enterprise, and Brand. Kurt’s primary role revolves around strategically aligning these departments to achieve the overarching goals and objectives of SLSQ. His relentless pursuit of efficiency and effectiveness has resulted in the implementation of robust strategies and fostered collaboration among departments, ensuring that SLSQ operates at the highest levels possible. His strong leadership, effective communication, and unwavering guidance have propelled the organization towards continuous success and growth. In addition to his role at SLSQ, Kurt Wilson serves as the Head Coach of the Australian Lifesaving Team’s High-Performance Program. Under his leadership since 2017, the team has achieved remarkable success, including winning the International Surf Rescue Championships in 2017 and 2019, the German Cup Pool Rescue Competition in 2017 and 2019, and the prestigious Lifesaving World Championships in 2018 and 2022. Kurt’s holistic athlete-centred performance framework and event-specific strategic plans have been instrumental in the team’s victories. He has also developed a strong bond with the coaching staff and athletes, creating a fun, performance-driven, inclusive, and motivational team culture. Kurt’s home club is the Currumbin Beach Vikings Surf Lifesaving Club on Australia’s Gold Coast, where he has served as the Head Coach for over a decade. During his tenure, he has not only led the Surf Sports Sub-Committee but has also supported club members in achieving their surf sport goals while ensuring the Club’s sustainability and viability within competitions. Kurt played a crucial role in aligning the club to the overall Surf Sports strategic framework, leading to the Currumbin Vikings claiming runner-up at the Lifesaving World Championships Interclub category in 2016 and 2018. His leadership has also been pivotal in the club’s success, claiming the top club trophy at the Australian Pool Rescue Championships eight times in the last decade. As an ambassador for the Lifesaving World Championships 2024, Kurt’s wealth of experience and expertise make him an ideal representative. His commitment to the sport, strong leadership skills, and strategic mindset continue to elevate the lifesaving community. With Kurt’s involvement, the Lifesaving World Championships 2024 are poised to be a memorable and successful event for athletes, coaches, and spectators alike. His passion for lifesaving and dedication to its growth are evident in his multifaceted contributions to the sport, and his presence as an ambassador will undoubtedly inspire and unite the global lifesaving community as they come together to celebrate this prestigious event
As an expert in drowning resuscitation, Leonardo Manino is an experienced and dedicated individual who has made significant contributions to the field of lifeguarding and emergency medical services. He is a beach Lifeguard and EMT- Paramedic with a Master Degree in Civil Protection and Emergency Management. For over three decades, as the Chief Lifeguard in his hometown of Rosario City, Argentina, Leonardo has played a crucial role in ensuring water safety. Beyond his local community, Leonardo has made a global impact through his involvement in various organisations. As the founding member and former President of the Argentina Lifesaving Association EPSA, he has worked tirelessly to enhance lifeguarding standards in his country and throughout Latin America. Additionally, his roles as a member of the International Life Saving Federation (ILS) Board of Directors, Chairman of the Latin American Committee of ILS Americas, member of the ILS Medical Committee and in the International Drowning Researcher Alliance (IDRA), reflect his dedication to promoting international collaboration and best practices in lifesaving. Beyond his professional responsibilities, Leonardo engages volunteering in programs focused on lifesaving, drowning prevention and lifesaving sport development, both in Latin America and worldwide. The lifesaving sport development program for Developing Nations in 2012 carried out by SLSA has set a path for him and for the development of lifesaving sport in his country. Furthermore, Leonardo’s expertise and leadership have made him an invaluable asset to the field of lifesaving. Through his contributions, he has helped save lives, promote water safety and advance the lifesaving community.
Rear Admiral Purushottam Dutt Sharma, AVSM, NM (Retd.), a distinguished veteran of the Indian Navy, emerges as a beacon of unwavering dedication to saving lives both on land and in water. With a career spanning operational excellence, leadership, and a steadfast commitment to social service, Rear Admiral Sharma has left an indelible mark on the realms of maritime safety, drowning prevention, and community education. During his tenure in the Indian Navy, Rear Admiral Sharma held pivotal operational assignments, including commanding ships and establishments, and his role as a Naval Aviator at the prestigious INAS 300 fighter squadron. His courage was demonstrated in the crucible of conflict, as he participated in the Indo-Pak conflicts of 1965 and 1971, flying from the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant. Beyond his military service, he displayed diplomatic finesse as the Naval Attaché in the Indian Embassy in Islamabad. In 1993, Rear Admiral Sharma chose to embark on a different mission – one of saving lives through prevention and education. Relocating to Pune with his wife, Mrs. Kavita Sharma, he co-founded the Rashtriya Life Saving Society (India) in 1998. Over the past 25 years, he has steered the organization to prominence, solidifying its status as a Strategic Partner of SLSA (Royal Life Saving Society Australia) and a full member of the International Life Saving Federation. His leadership prowess was evident as he held the prestigious position of Vice President and President of ILS Asia Pacific Region from 2012 to 2016. Witnessing the toll of accidents on both land and water, Rear Admiral Sharma has taken it upon himself to foster awareness and education. His workshops and seminars on “Drowning Prevention,” “Safer Driving,” “Safer Living,” and “Community Education” in CPR, First Aid, and Lifesaving have equipped countless individuals with lifesaving skills. His vision transcends borders, inspiring communities to embrace safety and empower themselves with knowledge. As the Ambassador of the Lifesaving World Championships 2024, Rear Admiral P.D. Sharma, AVSM, NM (Retd.) embodies the spirit of resilience, courage, and service. His dedication to preserving life resonates with the championship’s mission, bringing global attention to the crucial importance of lifesaving skills. In his presence, the championship gains not just an ambassador, but a guiding light whose legacy is etched in the very fabric of saving lives.
Shun Nishiyama is a member of the Yugawara Lifesaving Club in Japan. He trains daily at the local beaches, rivers and pools in the Kanagawa Prefecture. Shun has represented Japan in the Lifesaving World Championships since 2010 and if he qualifies for 2024, it will be his seventh time competing at World Championship level. Shun trains daily while working in the medical device industry. He also organizes and manages his own competition to nurture the next generation of world-class athletes. His goal has always been to win medals in both the Ocean and Pool individual events at the Lifesaving World Championships.
Perry Smith’s lifelong dedication to Lifesaving Sport began in 1974, igniting a passion that would shape his extraordinary journey as an athlete, coach, and technical official. A trailblazer in the Canadian Lifesaving community, Perry’s contributions have left an indelible mark on the sport’s growth and development. In 1977, Perry transitioned from being a competitor to a coach, sharing his expertise and nurturing the talents of aspiring athletes. His commitment to excellence was evident as he earned the title of Technical Official in 1979, becoming a pivotal figure in the execution and regulation of competitions. As a testament to his expertise and unwavering dedication, Perry became an integral member of the Canadian Sport Commission in 2000. For over two decades, he played an active role in shaping policies and decisions that would shape the future of Lifesaving Sport in Canada. Since 2000, Perry has held the prestigious role of Chief Referee for Pool, Surf, and Simulated Emergency Response (SERC) events in Canada. His leadership and knowledge have ensured fair play and adherence to regulations, making him a respected authority within the international Lifesaving community. Taking his skills to the global stage, Perry represented the Ontario Lifesaving Team at Rescue 1988 in Australia, where his team’s stellar performance secured the Gold Medal in the SERC event. Perry’s prowess extended to the Masters Division, earning him a Bronze Medal in 2004, as well as Silver and Bronze Medals in 2008. Perry’s journey as a Technical Official has seen him officiate at every Lifesaving World Championship since 2000. Rising through the ranks, he eventually became Chief Referee and earned a position in the Event Management Committee and Competition Officials Appointment Panel. His expertise was further acknowledged when he was appointed Chief Referee for the prestigious World Games in Cali, Columbia, in 2013, and Birmingham, Alabama, in 2022. Acknowledging his immense contributions, Perry was awarded the Knight in the Order of Lifesaving in 2017. This prestigious honour stands as a testament to his relentless pursuit of safety and excellence in Lifesaving skills. Perry’s influence expanded beyond Canadian borders, as he joined the International Lifesaving Sport Commission in 2004, continuing to share his insights and shape the global landscape of the sport. Today, Perry Smith serves as the Ontario Lifesaving Sport Manager, ensuring that his wealth of experience and expertise continue to shape and inspire generations of athletes, coaches, and officials in Lifesaving Sport. His legacy stands as a beacon of dedication, perseverance, and sportsmanship for all who are fortunate enough to be a part of this life-saving community.
Takuya Iritani is the current President of the Japan Lifesaving Association. He was Team Manager on the Japan National Team at the Lifesaving World Championships in 2010, 2012 and 2014. Takuya also competed in the Japan National Team in Rescue ’98 and the World Games 2001 in Akita. Since 2014, Takuya has represented Japan Lifesaving at all International Life Saving meetings. He says “I have experienced the Lifesaving World Championships in many roles. I have enjoyed each and every role and I would like to see many Japanese athletes and officials do the same at the Lifesaving World Championships 2024 on Australia’s Gold Coast.”
Todd Velvin attained his Bronze Medallion (Surf Lifeguard Award) in 1988. He has held numerous roles in surf, including being on the National Board of Directors as well as national, regional and local sports committees. One of his most important roles is leading his local club Fitzroy as President. Todd has competed in most areas of surf sport from Rescue and Resuscitation to IRB Racing. He has competed and medalled with his father and is now racing with his son. One of his passions is officiating as an announcer at national and international lifesaving events as well as being the emcee at the Surf Life Saving New Zealand National Awards. Todd is an active Search and Rescue team member for the Taranaki Surf Rescue Squad where he finds any opportunity to be in the water is a great day.
Yasuko Nakagawa is the Director of International Affairs for the Japan Lifesaving Association and the Director of the Asia Pacific Region for the International Life Saving Federation. Yasuko competed in the Lifesaving World Championships 2000 in Manly in the Interclub Championships as a member of the Shimoda Lifesaving Club. She was the Japan National Team interpreter for the Lifesaving World Championships 2008 in Germany and 2014 in France and a Technical Official at the Lifesaving World Championships 2012 in Australia. Yasuko says “I would like many Japanese members to attend the Lifesaving World Championships 2024 on Australia’s Gold Coast to feel the enthusiasm and passion of lifesaving sport and feel the atmosphere and comrade of the lifesaving family”.

local organising committee