1. BASICS OF THE WORLD RANKINGS

1.1. GENERAL

In force from 1 January 2021.

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.).

1.1.1. Event Rankings

  1. 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 (limited to the World Athletics Cross Country Championships)
  2. Event Rankings are produced in 46 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”.
  3. Performances in each of these 23 men's and 23 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.
  4. Due to the differences between the calculation of the Ranking Scores, the specific Rules are described in four sections for the Event Rankings:

1.1.2. Overall Rankings

  1. To compare all the athletes regardless of their events, the World Rankings produce Men's and Women's Overall Rankings.
  2. The Overall Rankings – similarly to the Event Rankings – are based on the Performance Scores of the athletes at each competition.
  3. 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.
  4. The details of the ranking process for the Overall Rankings are described in Section 6. - 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

  1. 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.
  2. The environment of the competition will determine whether the outdoor or indoor scoring tables must be used.
  3. 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.
  4. The World Rankings consider only results which were achieved at a competition conducted according to the World Athletics Rules.
  5. Results achieved with underage equipment or implements (in hurdles and throwing events), are not considered for the Rankings.
  6. Intermediate splits during a competition are not considered as a result for the athlete and thus are not included in the World Rankings.
  7. 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

  1. Placing Score is awarded for the placing achieved by the athlete at a competition.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. In the case of Cross Country, where there are substantial differences between courses, athletes are awarded straight Performance Scores.
  7. In Area Championships 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.
  8. 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

  1. In every Rankings published prior to 12 August 2021 only those Performance Scores are considered, which were obtained by the athlete since 1 December 2018 or 1 January 2019 or 30 June 2019, depending on the Event Group the athlete is ranked in, with the exception of the inactive period between 6 April 2020 and 30 November 2020, when no performances are considered for the Rankings in any of the Event Groups. In Rankings published on or after 10 August 2021, only those Performance Scores are considered, which were obtained by the athlete in a 12 months or 18 months active period prior to the date of the Rankings. The period varies depending on the Event Group the athlete is ranked in and does not include the inactive period between 6 April 2020 and 30 November 2020.
  2. To avoid overweighting, competitions in the OW and DF Categories, and for all Event Groups, will only be included once in any edition of the Rankings, regardless of the 12 or 18 months rule.
  3. 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:

  1. 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
  2. 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. Diamond League Best Performing Athlete Bonus

For the Best Performing Athlete award winners - given in one male and one female athlete respectively in sprints, hurdles, distance events, jumps and throws - 10 bonus points are added to the average of Performance Scores.

1.2.7. Ranking Score

  1. The Rankings are based on the Ranking Scores. Athletes are ranked in the Event and Overall Rankings by their Ranking Scores.
  2. The Ranking Score is the average of Performance Scores.
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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..
  3. 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

Category Details T&F CE RR RW
OW Olympic Games x x x 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 World Athletics Platinum Label Road Races (not including Marathons)     x  
World Athletics Gold Label Marathons     x  
Area Senior Outdoor Championships x x x x
World Athletics Race Walking & Combined Events Permit Meetings (other scoring opportunities are categorised according to the respective competitions)   x   x
A Major Games (All-African, Asian, Commonwealth, Pan American, European, South American) x x x x
World Athletics Continental Tour Gold Meetings**
x      
World Athletics Continental Tour Silver & Bronze Meetings (Hammer Throw only and subject to WA Approval)
x      
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 Gold Label Road Races (Not including Marathons)     x  
World Athletics Silver & Elite 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 World Athletics Silver & Elite Label Road Races (Not including Marathons)     x  
World Athletics Bronze Label Marathons     x  
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 Continental Tour Bronze Meetings (Hammer Throw only and subject to WA Approval) x      
Area second tier Championships (European Team Championships Super League) x x x  
National Senior Championships (Outdoor T&F/CE in Main Events, Marathon and 20km/35km*/50km Race Walking) x x 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 Silver Meetings** x x   x
Area Permit Outdoor Meetings   x    
World Athletics Bronze Label Road Races (Not including Marathons)     x  
Area third tier Championships (Area U23 Championships, European Team Championships 1st League, European Throwing Cup, European 10,000m 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 Outdoor Championships x x    
D Regional Games, Championships and Cups - third tier (First and senior division only) x x x x
World Athletics Indoor Tour Bronze Meetings** x x   x
Area Permit Meetings (not included in WACT) x      
Area Permit Indoor Meetings   x    
Area fourth tier Championships (Area U20 Championships, Continental Club Championships [first division only], European Team Championships 2nd League) 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
Youth Olympic Games x     x
E International Matches (Subject to World Athletics / Area Permit) x x   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  
NCAA Div. I Indoor Championships x x    
Area U18 Championships x     x
European Youth Olympic Festival x     x
F National permit meetings x x   x

* From 10 August 2021 the 35km will replace the 50km as the Main Event in this Event Group, with the change applied retrospectively from the beginning of the Ranking Period.
** Only events awarding official Prize Money in accordance with the Tour Regulations