IAAF launch rankings idea
ANEW rankings system will be introduced by the IAAF next year as a qualification mechanism for major championships.
The IAAF has partnered with Hungary-based Elite
Ltd (All Athletics) to produce a system which the global governing body describes as “the first step in fundamental changes in athletics”.
“The IAAF world rankings, which will come into operation in 2018, will drive and shape the global competition system including entry into the World Championships and Olympic Games,” said IAAF president Seb Coe.
“For the first time in the sport’s history, athletes, media and fans will have a clear understanding of the hierarchy of competitions from national through to area and up to global events, allowing them to follow a logical season-long path to the pinnacle of athletics top two competitions.”
More details are set to be released in the new year but the idea has already come under criticism. Long-term injury, for example, could see an athlete miss competitions and fail to qualify for the major championships through the new rankings system.
Also, athletes in poorer countries will not be able to travel as much to meetings to build up rankings points. Athletes might also be pressured into competing more and risking injury.
Writing in Athletics International, statistician Peter Matthews said the idea was not new as the IAAF used similar rankings from 2001-06 and added that he was “concerned that while such a system may be appropriate for the full-time travelling professionals, most athletes are not in this category and up-and-coming athletes may find it difficult to gather the points needed to qualify for global championships”.
Another IAAF initiative that is likely to be more warmly welcomed is the creation of a ‘heritage’ department to promote the history of the sport. It will be headed by Chris Turner, who has worked for the IAAF’s media department since 2002 and was one of AW’s reporters at the 2000 Olympics.
Finally, the IAAF announced its short list of athletes in its end of year awards and they are: Mutaz Essa Barshim, Mo Farah and Wayde van Niekerk and, for the women, Almaz Ayana, Katerina Stefanídi and Nafissatou Thiam.
The decision has come under fire, though, due to
Ayana only having raced twice in 2017 whereas athletes such as hammer thrower Anita Wlodarczyk and high jumper Mariya Lasitskiené competed multiple times and remained undefeated.
The winners are announced on November 24, but if you prefer to pick your own athletes of the year in the AW readers’ poll then go to athleticsweekly. com to cast your votes.
Seb Coe: making changes
Almaz Ayana: controversial choice