1. How will the IAAF World Rankings complement the traditional world lists?
  2. The traditional world lists are based on the fastest times and the furthest distances achieved by the athletes. These world lists do not take into account whether the performance was achieved in the Olympic final or in a local meeting, thus not considering the competition/opposition in the athlete’s fields, for example. The new IAAF World Rankings recognise the depth and consistency of an athlete’s performance as well as the significance of the competition.

  3. What are the benefits of a ranking for the sport of athletics?
  4. The IAAF World Rankings offer a transparent and objective measure of the depth of athletes’ performances across a diverse range of disciplines and a variety of competitions (i.e. the IAAF World Championships in Athletics and various other meetings). The IAAF World Rankings cover the planet with its regional, national and continental athletics associations. Direct comparison can be made between disciplines allowing the best athletes in the world to be identified objectively. In so doing the IAAF World Rankings will promote the star athletes to a wider audience and extend the base of athletics from the athletics fans to the sports fans.

  5. When will the IAAF World Rankings be officially effective?
  6. The IAAF World Rankings will be published on the IAAF web site (www.iaaf.org) on Tuesday 27th June 2000 for the first time. Top 1000 Overall Rankings and Top 100 Events Rankings will be available as downloadable text files. html files will give the top 50 ranked per discipline and the top 100 overall for both men and women.

    As with all innovative projects some small adjustment may be required in the initial phases. For this reason 2000 will provide a trial period after which the adaptations and improvements based on contributions and suggestions of athletes, their coaches and managers and the media, as well as the experts within the IAAF, will be discussed and, if approved, implemented. The test phase also gives the athletes the opportunity to learn and understand the system, and, if they wish to do so, to plan their season in order to achieve an improved ranking.

  7. Will the IAAF World Ranking be integrated into the competition structure?
  8. The Rankings have the potential to underpin the competition structure of international athletics. Such a massive task takes time and it is necessary to consult several bodies prior to the successful integration of the Rankings to the competition structure.

  9. What disciplines are taken into account when calculating the Rankings.
  10. The Rankings consider performances outdoor, indoor and also the performances achieved at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships. The Rankings are global both in terms of the athletes represented within the system and the range of competitions included within the system. Significant competitions should be included in the Rankings wherever they take place.


Indoor athletics is an important area of our sport and many fine champions compete regularly indoors. Cross-country is an important discipline for our middle and long distance athletes. Many commentators have suggested that the IAAF World Cross Country Championships is one of the greatest distance races in the world in terms of the depth of quality. Given the importance of these Championships it would be inappropriate to exclude them from the Rankings.

 How they work
Facts sheet