New IAAF World Rankings System

Last Updated on December 31, 2020 by Andrew Pirie

New IAAF World Rankings System

New IAAF World Rankings System

The IAAF has undertaken to create a global New IAAF World Rankings 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 the 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 on the IAAF website, 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, the IAAF processes result from over 10,000 competitions worldwide, which feed into the World Rankings. The calendar of such competitions (currently limited to IAAF and Area Permit competitions) is available in the corresponding tab. On the IAAF website

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 standardized 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. Comment from Paul Jenes: There have been very strong objections to these rankings from various quarters, in particular, the NCAC. I personally have reservations as I can only see this benefiting a small group of elite athletes who are already benefiting from the Diamond League and World Series which I have no issues with.

The sport and the athletes need to be well rewarded. However, I am somewhat worried about future World Championships or maybe the Olympics which may only see the best but at the expense of the remainder of the world. Is our sport going to become like tennis?

A small sign of this already in the preliminary round of the 100m in the World Champs where all the little countries are dispensed with so our poor elite don’t have to run an extra 100m. I just received an email from former Executive member Luis Vinker who is against the new rankings and was wondering if the ATFS has some thoughts on it.

I also note in Peter Matthews Athletics International that he has some strong views on the subject hopefully in the next edition or he may wish to expand here Maybe I am out of touch. Do any of you have thoughts on this one way or the other?

By Andrew Pirie

Andrew was elected Vice President of the Association of Track and Field Statisticians in 2020 after being a member for 7 years. He has worked as a PSC Consultant and Research Assistant from 2013-2015, Consultant, and Sprint Coach at Zamboanga Sports Academy from 2015-2017. And Currently is Consultant Coach with VMUF 2021- Current editor and chief of, and has recently done consultancy work for Ayala Corp evaluating the Track and Field Program. Coaches Sprints, Middle and Jump events he is  Level 3 Athletics Australia Coaching Certification in Sprints and Hurdles. Currently working towards a Masters Degree in Education. He can be contacted on [email protected] You can find more information on Coaching here

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