1. BASICS OF THE WORLD RANKINGS
In force from 1 January 2023.
The World Rankings in Athletics produce Event Rankings and Overall Rankings.
The Event Rankings evaluate athletes competing in a single discipline and rank the world's athletes in that specific discipline. The Overall Rankings compare athletes across all disciplines to rank all the male and female athletes in the world.
The World Rankings are published weekly, every Wednesday. In special circumstances they may be published on a different week-day: e.g. to be consistent with the end of the ranking period for specific Championships (World Athletics Championships, Olympic Games, etc.).
These World Rankings Criteria set out the principles by which World Athletics ranks Athletes, but World Athletics retains the ultimate discretion to decide how and when ranking points are awarded. These World Rankings Criteria may be amended from time to time.
1.1.1. Event Rankings
- The Event Rankings cover the following individual disciplines of athletics (there are no World Rankings for Relays):
- Track & Field Events
- Combined Events
- Road Running
- Race Walking
- Cross Country
- Event Rankings are produced in 48 Athletics Event Groups. These Events often consist of a group of events, which are similar to each other. Therefore, each Event Group includes a "Main Event" which can be accompanied with one or more "Similar Events". E.g. the men’s 100m is an “Event Group” where the 100m is the Main Event and the 50m, 55m and 60m are “Similar Events”.
- Performances in each of these 24 men's and 24 women's Event Groups count separately for the Event Rankings. Athletes can be ranked in all the different Event Groups where they achieve enough performances.
- Due to the differences between the calculation of the Ranking Scores, the specific Rules are described in five sections for the Event Rankings:
1.1.2. Overall Rankings
- To compare all the athletes regardless of their events, the World Rankings produce Men's and Women's Overall Rankings.
- The Overall Rankings – similarly to the Event Rankings – are based on the Performance Scores of the athletes at each competition.
- Unlike the Event Rankings, for the calculation of the Ranking Score for the Overall Rankings, athletes can obtain Performance Scores from more than one Event Group.
- The details of the ranking process for the Overall Rankings are described in Section 7. - Overall Rankings
1.2. RANKING METHOD
The ranking system is based on the two main elements of all Athletics performances: the measured results of athletes (result score) and their placing during competitions (placing score). The combination of these elements provides the athletes’ performance for each competition in which they participate (performance score).
RESULT SCORE + PLACING SCORE = PERFORMANCE SCORE
Athletes’ performances can be considered in all competitions from grass roots to elite international level. However, the results must be in accordance with the World Athletics Rules and Regulations in force, and World Athletics or one of its Area Associations or Member Federations must have officially ratified the results. The general Rules are described in this section 1. Rules specific to each Event Group are described in the corresponding sub-sections.
1.2.1. Result Score
- The Result Scores are calculated using the latest editions of the World Athletics Scoring Tables of Athletics (by Dr. Bojidar Spiriev) which can be found here.
- The environment of the competition will determine whether the outdoor or indoor scoring tables must be used.
- For disciplines not included in the latest editions of the World Athletics Scoring Tables of Athletics, there are special Scoring Tables developed in full conformity with the World Athletics versions.
- The World Rankings consider only results which were achieved at a competition conducted according to the World Athletics Rules.
- Results achieved with underage equipment or implements (in hurdles and throwing events), are not considered for the Rankings.
- Intermediate splits during a competition are not considered as a result for the athlete and thus are not included in the World Rankings.
- The initial Result Score may be altered taking into consideration the following factors:
- Wind reading
- Best Legal Jump (BLJ)
- Downhill course (Drop)
1.2.2. Placing Score
- Placing Score is awarded for the placing achieved by the athlete at a competition.
- Competitions are categorised, and the Placing Scores are different in each Category. There are 10 different categories for the purposes of Placing Scores. The Placing Scores obtainable at each competition vary according to the level and significance of the competition. The category “OW” reflects the strongest competitions and consequently awards the most points. For example, the Placing Scores available at the World Athletics Championships or at the Olympic Games are much higher than those at any other competition. See 1.3 - Categorisation of Competitions.
- Placing Scores can only be received in the Final of a competition. In the heats, quarter-finals or semi-finals and in qualifications, athletes obtain only Result Scores with no additional Placing Scores. However, in the “OW”, “DF”, “GW” and “GL” categories, Placing Scores are awarded for placings in the round before the Final as well.
- Placing Scores may be different according to the type of discipline concerned so they are determined separately for Track & Field events, Combined Events, Road Running and Race Walking.
- In certain cases, Placing Scores may also be different within an Event Group, depending on whether the discipline is a Main Event or a Similar Event.
- In the case of Cross Country, where there are substantial differences between courses, athletes are awarded straight Performance Scores.
- In Area Championships, Games and National Championships Placing Scores can only be awarded to athletes representing their Area and Home Country respectively. Athletes representing a foreign Member Federation or other Areas are regarded as out of competition participants (OC) and only receive Result Scores for their performances, regardless of their original position indicated in the official results of the competition.
- In case a competition belongs to more than one Category, the most favourable Placing Score is considered for each athlete based on the positions achieved in the different classifications.
1.2.3. Performance Score
The Performance Score is obtained by adding the Result Score to the Placing Score:
Result Score + Placing Score = Performance Score
1.2.4 Ranking Period
- Only those Performance Scores are considered, which were obtained by the athlete in a 12 months or 18 months period prior to the date of the Rankings. The period varies depending on the Event Group the athlete is ranked.
- To avoid overweighting, competitions in the OW and DF Categories:
- for the Event Groups with 12 months Ranking Period in OW and DF categories, only the latest edition of the same category competition will be included in the Rankings, regardless of the 12 months rule.
- for the Event Groups with 18 months Ranking Period in the OW category the previous edition of the same category competition will be included in the Rankings with GL category Placing Scores until it is within the 18 months period. E.g., performances from the 2022 World Athletics Championships will score with GL category Placing Scores once the 2023 World Athletics Championships results are processed.
- In order to ensure that performances achieved at the Area Senior Outdoor Championships are calculated in the Rankings, the latest editions of the Area Senior Outdoor Championships are included in the Rankings calculation regardless of whether they fall in the Events’ respective Ranking Period, given that they were held within 3 full calendar years (e.g. after 1 January in the 3rd year prior to the date of the Rankings.)
1.2.5. World Record Bonus
In case an athlete achieves a New World Record, or equals the World Record, bonus points are given as an extra reward for the obvious significance and promotional value of such performance. These World Record bonus points are added directly to the average of the Performance Scores to increase the Ranking Score of the athlete. World Record bonus points are awarded for each world record performance achieved by the athlete in the ranking period, regardless of the fact that the performance is included in the Ranking calculation or not. World Record bonus points are given as follows:
- Main Events
- New World Record = 20 bonus points added to the average of Performance Scores
- Equalling the World Record = 10 bonus points added to the average of Performance Scores
- Similar Events
- New World Record = 10 bonus points added to the average of Performance Scores
- Equalling the World Record = 5 bonus points added to the average of Performance Scores
1.2.6. Ranking Score
- The Rankings are based on the Ranking Scores. Athletes are ranked in the Event and Overall Rankings by their Ranking Scores.
- The Ranking Score is the average of Performance Scores.
- In order to be ranked, athletes must collect a sufficient number of Performance Scores and some of them must come from Main Events. Athletes who do not collect enough performances, cannot have a valid Ranking Score, and are thus ineligible for ranking. See details for each Event Group in the corresponding section.
- When calculating the Ranking Score the following factors are considered:
- Event Groups, Main Events and Similar Events
- Required number of performances for Ranking
- Ranking period
- World Record performances
- Tie break in case of same Ranking Score
In case two or more athletes have equal Ranking Scores, the tie for their Ranking position will be resolved in favour of the athlete with the best Performance Score. If the best Performance Scores are also equal, then the second best Performance Scores decide, and so on. If all Performance Scores used to make up the athlete's Ranking Score are equal, then the tie is not broken and the athletes remain ranked in the same position.
1.3. CATEGORIES OF COMPETITIONS
Placing Scores are distributed according to the categorisation of competitions, subject to the following:
- World Athletics has the exclusive right to determine to which Category a given competition should be assigned. Categorisation of Area Permit competitions (Championships, Games and invitation meetings) will be agreed with the corresponding Area Association. Specific national permit competitions (other than National Senior Championships) will be placed in category E as designated by the Member Federation in agreement with, and subject to quotas established by World Athletics. All other national permit competitions are placed in category F.
- During a calendar year, only one National Senior Championships per each Member Federation can award Placing Scores according to the Categorisation as shown below. In case a Member Federation organizes more than one National Championships, or an equivalent type of competition (e.g. trials), in any discipline within one calendar year, the first such competition is regarded as the National Championships unless the MF informs World Athletics otherwise, prior to the beginning of the season..
- Only those events of a competition are entitled to receive the Category as listed below – and thus the corresponding Placing Scores – which are held primarily for the purpose of the competition for which the corresponding Category was awarded. Extra or supplementary events, national or youth events during international invitational meetings, etc. are considered as Category F regardless of the Category of the main competition during which the event was held.
Table 1. Categories of Competitions and scoring according to Discipline
World Athletics Elite Label Road Races (Not including Marathons) x
|World Athletics Championships||x||x||x||x|
|DF||Diamond League Finals*||x|
|GW||World Athletics Indoor Championships||x||x|
|World Athletics Cross Country Championships (senior race)||x|
|World Athletics Half Marathon / Road Running Championships||x|
|World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships||x|
|Diamond League Meetings (DL disciplines only)||x|
|World Athletics Continental Tour Gold (Hammer Throw only)||x|
|World Athletics Platinum Label Marathons||x|
|GL||Area Senior Outdoor Championships||x||x||x||x||x|
|Upgraded World Athletics Combined Events Tour Gold Level Meetings: Götzis, Talence||x|
|A||Major Games (All-African, Asian, Commonwealth, Pan American, European, South American)||x||x||x||x|
World Athletics Continental Tour Gold Meetings**
|Diamond League Meetings (Additional international events with at least 50% of DL prize money)||x|
|World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold Level Meetings**||x|
|World Athletics Race Walking Tour Gold Level Meetings||x|
|World Athletics Combined Events Tour Gold Level Meetings||x|
|World Athletics Cross Country Tour Gold Level Meetings||x|
|World Athletics Gold Label Marathons||x|
|Area Senior Indoor Championships||x||x|
|Area Senior Race Walking and Marathon Championships (when not part of the Area Championships)||x||x|
|B||Regional Games & Athletics Championships (Universiade, Francophone Games Ibero-American Championships, CAC Games, Balkan Championships)||x||x||x||x|
|World Athletics Continental Tour Silver Meetings**||x|
|World Athletics Indoor Tour Silver Meetings**||x|
|World Athletics Race Walking Tour Silver Meetings**||x|
|World Athletics Combined Events Tour Silver Meetings**||x|
|World Athletics Cross Country Tour Silver Meetings**||x|
|World Athletics Elite Label Marathons||x|
|World Athletics Gold Label Road Races (Not including Marathons)||x|
|Area second tier Championships (European Team Championships 1st Division, European 10,000m Cup)||x||x||x|
|National Senior Championships (Outdoor T&F/CE in Main Events, Marathon and 20km/35km Race Walking, Cross Country)||x||x||x||x||x|
|NCAA Div. I Outdoor Championships||x||x|
|C||World Athletics Series - U20 events (World U20, World Cross Country and World Race Walking Team Championships)||x||x||x|
|World Athletics Continental Tour Bronze Meetings**||x||x||x|
|World Athletics Indoor Tour Bronze Meetings**||x||x||x|
|World Athletics Race Walking Tour Bronze Meetings**||x|
|World Athletics Combined Events Tour Bronze Meetings**||x|
|World Athletics Cross Country Tour Bronze Meetings**||x|
|World Athletics Elite Label Road Races (Not including Marathons)||x|
|Asian Grand Prix Series||x|
|Area third tier Championships (Area U23 Championships, European Team Championships 2nd Division, European Throwing Cup) and in Similar Events||x||x||x||x|
|Regional Games & Championships (Arab Championships, Mediterranean Games, CISM World Games)||x||x||x||x|
|NCAA Div. I Indoor Championships||x||x|
|D||Regional Games, Championships and Cups - third tier (First and senior division only)||x||x||x||x|
|World Athletics Continental Tour Challenger series||x|
|Area fourth tier Championships (Area U20 Championships, Continental Club Championships [first division only], European Team Championships 3rd Division)||x||x||x||x|
|Traditional International Meetings: - subject to application and Area approval (e.g.: Finnkampen, Baltic Countries Championships)||x||x||x|
|National Senior Championships (in Indoor Main Events and in Outdoor Similar Events)||x||x||x||x|
|Mediterranean U23 Championships||x||x||x|
|Youth Olympic Games||x||x|
|E||International Matches (Subject to World Athletics / Area Permit)||x||x||x|
|National Winter Throwing Championships (senior events only)||x|
|Designated (national permit) meetings and competitions (Subject to MF/World Athletics approval)||x||x||x|
|Other International Marathons inlcuding WA Label Marathons (If measured and certified)||x|
|Other International Half Marathons and Road Races inlcuding WA Label Road Races(If measured and certified)||x|
|Mediterranean U23 Indoor Championships||x|
|Area U18 Championships||x||x|
|European Youth Olympic Festival||x||x|
|F||National permit meetings||x||x||x|
* Athletes who are NOT invited based on their standings in the Diamond League prior to the Final (i.e. Wild Card athletes) will receive Diamond League ranking points (GW category) and not Diamond League Final ranking points (DF category).
** Only events awarding official Prize Money in accordance with the Tour Regulations