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NIEUWS van December 2004
 
Introduction
Regarding the 2004 IAAF Overall World Rankings the feeling arises that in the overall ranking system some disciples are treated preferential to others. Examples of privileged rankings are Kenenisa Bekele (1st Men) and Tatyana Lebedeva (2nd Women).
Lebedeva had the possibility to score in two events on Olympic Games and Indoor World Championships, the Long Jump and the Triple Jump, which results in disproportional Placings Scores compared to some other Events.
Bekele has the opportunity to perform in numerous championships within the Long Distance Track Event. Two Olympic distances, the World Cross Country, and an indoors World Record.
Marathon runners on the other hand had only the Olympics in 2004. It is counted twice to say, but with lower Placing Scores than others. Moreover, the marathon runners have to perform at on-ideal conditions during the Olympics which effects the Result Score as well.
The first position of Yelena Isinbayeva could be regarded as a privileged ranking as well, due to the fact that Pole Vault for Women is a still developing Event, making it easier to gain extra points for world records. On the other hand, if so, it will come to an end soon, as it becomes a full developed event. In the mean time some extra courage for such a new event is not bad at all.

However, to come to a more fair Overall World Ranking for Athletics I come to some proposals.

Proposal 1
For fairness athletes should be ranked in the overall World Rankings with the Ranking Score of the Event Rankings. As such all athletes have similar changes to get high Ranking Score in their Overall Rankings.

To obtain the fairness we aim for in Proposal 1, the conditions of Proposal 2 must be fulfilled as well.

Proposal 2
For Combined Events and Road Racing, not three but six Performance Scores should be taken into account; i.e. a similar treatment as in the other Event Scores.
Because the number of performances in Combined Events, marathon and ultramarathon are much more restricted than other Events, the Combined Events, marathon and ultramarathon get two Performance Scores. The first Performance Score is based on the same Placing Score Table as the other Events; the second Placing Score is taken from the same Table, but with the competition two categories lower; i.e. OW becomes GL (perhaps extenden tot places up to 12), GW becomes A, …, D becomes F, E becomes F and F remains F.
On the other hand, in case of the long distance track, it is possible to have two OW Performances in an Olympic Year. If so, the best Performance Score is obtained from usual OW Placing Scores; the other with the Placing Score two categories lower (i.e. GL). The same holds for World Champioships (GW becomes a category A for the second distance Performance).
For Combined Events, an individual Performance Score is taken into account. Using the Placing Tables of the competition category two lower than the Combined Event competition. The Ranking Score is based on the ranking within the field of Combined Event Competitors that did classify for the Combined Event (so dnf’s are excluded). In case of wind-aided events, the Ranking Score is based on the Result score after correction for wind assistance. In case of an ex aquo the two Position Scores are equalised (i.e. an ex aquo on 3rd/4th position in a A category competition results in a 95 point Placing Score for both).

Illustration
The shorter, submarathon Road Races (up to and including 30 km), are treated similar as all other Events. A half marathon result might be better than the second Performance Score of a marathon. Or athletes who run more (ultra)marathons in a year could have for example four primer Performance Scores and only two second Performance Scores. The same holds for Combined Events, where individual Performance Scores have the same role as the shorter (submarathon) distances in Road Racing.

Note that most Events have the possibility of a second Score during Olympics this way. For Running Events up to and including 800 meters, the Semifinals are taken into account for a second Score. In Long Distance Track, the 5 and 10k fulfil this role. In Road Racing or Combined Events, the second Performance Score fulfils this role.

I do believe that the Overall Rankings will increase in fairness with the above proposed changes. On the other hand it will not affect the original intention of Event Scores for the World Athletics Finals.

For Road Racing however I have a personal addition to the proposals.

Proposal 3
For ultramarathon Racing in the Road Racing Events two “classic” races will be added to the program:
The 90 km Comrades Race in South Africa
The 246 km Spartathlon in Greece
For these Competitions the IAAF World Cross Country Championship Performance Scores are used; i.e. the first Performance score is obtained from the “Short and Long Distance” table; the second from the “Junior race” table.
I doubt that the Spartathlon will make any change in the years to come, but it would be a recognition to what probably is one of the most historical races in Athletics.

What still needs attention is Drop in Downhill courses and Possible Wind aid in Point tot Point Road Races.
Together with people from ARRS (Association of Road Running Statisticians) we could figure out how Course Drop and the possibility of Wind aid in Point to Point Courses could be taken into account in the Performance Scores. Course Drops are at the moment mentioned in the Events Rankings of Road Racing, but as far is I know not taken into consideration.


Anton H.M. Smeets
Netherlands

ton.smeets@ou.nl
 

 
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