World governing body says the official world rankings are the “first step in fundamental changes in athletics”

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has announced plans to create the first official ‘IAAF World Rankings’ as a qualification mechanism to drive the sport’s annual competition system.

Described by the world governing body as the “first step in fundamental changes in athletics”, the new rankings system forms part of the IAAF Reforms introduced by president Seb Coe at the end of 2016 “to help athletes and fans better compete and follow the sport they love”.

The introduction of the IAAF World Rankings will see a switch from standards to ranking when it comes to qualification for major competition, while national member federations will still select their teams from athletes to have qualified, as is currently the case.

Further details are set to be finalised in the first quarter of 2018, in order that the system can be applied for the IAAF World Championships in Doha in 2019 and the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.

The IAAF has partnered with Hungary-based Elite Ltd (All Athletics) to create the official IAAF World Rankings.

“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 president 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.”

According to the IAAF announcement made on Friday (November 3), athletes’ positions in the IAAF World Rankings will be based upon the points they score, with the amount determined by their performance and place as well as the importance of the competition in the IAAF global calendar in which those results are achieved.

On Friday the IAAF also announced the establishment of a new department titled ‘IAAF Heritage’.

“The department’s goal will be to better employ athletics’ history, its heroes and heroines, their artefacts and the documents, video and photographs that portray them, to engage with the stars and fans of the present and future,” the IAAF explained.

Chris Turner, who has been with the IAAF since 2002 and is currently deputy director of the communications department-PR, will become director of IAAF Heritage, starting in January 2018.

“In creating the IAAF World Rankings partnership with Elite Ltd and setting up IAAF Heritage, we are establishing structures to assist the understanding and promotion of athletics for present and future generations,” said IAAF CEO Olivier Gers.

“The rankings will bring much needed clarity to what is today a confusing competition picture even for those from within the sport, while Heritage will be an important tool to help inform, inspire and engage interest through the extraordinarily story of athletics.”