World Athletics has undertaken to create a global ranking system where athletes score points based on a combination of result and place depending on the level of the competition in which the result is achieved. The ranking is then based on their average score over a certain number of competitions in a defined period of time.
The basis for the ranking method has been developed with Elite Ltd (All-Athletics) whose founder, Dr Bojidar Spiriev, developed a first set of rankings already back in 1979. The calculation mechanism, as well as the different categories of competitions and the placing scores awarded for each category, can be found under the tab World Ranking Rules.
Under the event rankings tab, you will find the single event rankings based on results achieved in each event’s respective ranking period and calculated according to the illustrated ranking method. By clicking on an athlete’s score, it is possible to understand how his/her average score, and therefore ranking position, has been calculated.
In any calendar year, World Athletics processes more than 1,000,000 results from more than 10,000 competitions worldwide which feed into the world rankings. Globally, this means that in any given week there are more than 70,000 athletes, ranging from elite to club level from all four corners of the world, who have a valid ranking score across the 46 athletics event groups. As we develop tools and processes to further expand the reach of our statistical service, these figures are destined to grow steadily and consistently.
From 1 January 2023, World Athletics will only process results (for all its statistical purposes including World Rankings) which have been achieved in a competition listed in the World Athletics global calendar. This list now also includes National Permit competitions across all disciplines which have been proposed for inclusion by Member Federations as per the World Rankings Competitions Application Procedures which can be found here.
Because of their nature, the world rankings can also be used as a tool to compare multiple performances across a range of competitions. By applying standardised compilation methods, it is therefore possible to evaluate the comparative quality of the participating fields at competitions of the same type and to produce competition performance rankings. These are available in the specific tab where there is also a link to the ranking rules which apply.
The world rankings are issued every Wednesday. Comments and feedback will be gratefully received at firstname.lastname@example.org.