Statistician Peter Matthews’ assessment of British athlete form and achievements

These merit rankings of British athletes by statistician Peter Matthews are reduced for 2020 by the diminution in competition due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Usually for each event the top 12 are ranked, but this time fewer athletes are included in events where there has been insufficient activity and Matthews has only considered those who have reached a level (or close to that) that would normally be appropriate for rankings.

“The closing of facilities meant that many athletes were unable to prepare properly for competition,” says Matthews. “Obviously there were few head-to-head clashes and many athletes had very thin seasons, some only one competition, but I have followed a policy for this extraordinary year of including many of these. With normal competition in January and February, indoor performances are fully considered.”

On the first line is shown the athlete’s name, then their date of birth followed, in brackets, by the number of years ranked (including 2020), their ranking last year (2019), and finally, their best mark prior to 2020. The following lines include their best performances of the year (generally six), followed by significant indoor marks indicated by ‘i’. Then follow placings at major meetings, providing a summary of the athlete’s year at the event.

Abbreviations include:

BIG – Bedford Jumps Fest (BIGish) at Lee Valley
B.Uns – British Universities & Colleges at Sheffield (indoors) Ind Indoors
LI – Loughborough International on Aug 16
LV – Lee Valley
UK – UK Championships at Manchester
UKi – UK Indoor Championships at Glasgow

Below you will find the top three in each men’s event. The full lists for every event, including more in-depth explanations, are featured in our 80-page end-of-year rankings supplement which was published with the December edition of AW magazine, which is available to order online in print here and read digitally here.

The top three in the UK women’s rankings can be found here, while international rankings are to follow.

100m

1 Harry Aikines-Aryeetey
29.8.88 (14y, 6) 10.08 ’13, 9.90w ’17
10.35, 10.44, 10.46; 10.12w; 1 Nuneaton 2/8, 16/6 & 23/8, 1 UK

2 Chijindu Ujah
5.03.94 (8y, 5) 9.96 ’14, 9.95w ’17
10.17, 10.27, 10.33’ 2 Turku, dnf (1h) Leverkusen

3 Andrew Robertson
17.12.90 (8y, 7) 10.10 ’14, 10.03w ’19
10.26, 10.39, 10.48, 10.52; 10.03w, 10.19w 1 Nuneaton 2/8, 16/8 & 23/8, 4 UK

Ujah had three runs in Europe with the year’s fastest wind-legal time while Aikines-Aryeetey (previous best second in 2011) won his first senior national title and Andrew Robertson ran the fastest windy time. Harry A-A is top for the first time in his 14th year in the rankings, a number exceeded only by Linford Christie’s 15.

200m

1 Adam Gemili
6.10.93 (8y, 1) 19.97 ’16
20.56, 20.61w, 20.68; 4 Monaco, 3 Székesfehérvár, 1 Stockholm

2 Andrew Morgan-Harrison
9.3.98 (1y, -) 20.96 ’19
20.74, 20.89, 21.10; 20.69w; 20.66i, 20.91i, 20.95i 1 LI, 1 UK; Ind: 1 North, 1 Vienna, 1 B.Uns, 1 UKi

3  Matthew Hudson-Smith
26.10.94 (1y, -) 20.88 ’13
20.60, 20.64, 20.95 1r3 Clermont, 4r2 Montverde, 3 Des Moines

While Gemili did not reach his usual level, he did enough in his three excursions to big European meetings to just retain top ranking (his sixth from 2012) ahead of the double UK champion Morgan-Harrison. Hudson-Smith’s good times in the USA give him a first ranking at this event.

Adam Gemili racing in Stockholm. Photo by Chris Cooper

400m

1 Matthew Hudson-Smith
26.10.94 (7y, 2) 44.48 ‘16
45.55, 45.58; 1 Montverde, dnf Clermont, 3 Marietta

2 Rabah Yousif
11.12.86 (7y, 1) 44.54 ’15
45.65, 45.99, 46.02, 46.05, 46.13, 46.39 3 Sollentuna, 5 Szczecin, 1B Bydgoszcz, 4 Stockholm, 2 Gothenburg, 4 Chorzów,
1 Rovereto, 1 Samorín, 2 Zagreb, 5 Rome, 5 Doha

3 Charlie Dobson 20.10.99 (1y, -) -0- 45.84; 1B LI

Hudson-Smith is top for the fourth time with the two fastest times of the year, while Yousif steadily brought his best 2020 time down to 45.65 in his 10th race in 39 days. He only had one race, but Dobson’s amazing debut in 45.84 was far faster than anyone apart from the top two.

800m

1 Daniel Rowden
9.9.97 (4y, -) 1:44.97 ‘18
1:44.09, 1:44.74, 1:45.55, 1:45.94, 1:49.52 3= Sollentuna, 1 Gothenburg, 1 UK, 1 Zagreb

2 Elliot Giles
26.5.94 (6y, 2) 1:44.99 ‘17
1:44.56, 1:44.68, 1:44.75, 1:45.18, 1:45.46, 1:45.51 2 Sollentuna, 1 Bydgoszcz, 2 Marseille, 6 Ostrava, 2 Zagreb

3 Jake Wightman
11.7.94 (7y, 4) 1:44.61 ’18
1:44.18, 1:44.85, 1:45.55, 1:46.11, 1:46.26 3= Sollentuna, 5 Chorzów, 2 UK, 1 Ostrava, 3 Zagreb

Despite limited opportunities, this was a great year for British middle-distance running with five men under 1:45. A peak was reached with the British 1-2-3 at Zagreb with Rowden – who had beaten Wightman for the UK title – going to ninth equal UK all-time with Steve Ovett and third on the world list for 2020 with 1:44.09.

1500m – 1 mile

1 Jake Wightman
11.7.94 (7y, 1) 3:31.87 ’19, 3:54.20M ’16
3:29.47; 3 Monaco

2 James West
30.1.96 (4y, 6) 3:35.74, 3:56.79M ’19
3:34.07, 3:34.56, 3:46.30, 3:51.93; 3:36.93i, 3:57.43Mi 4 UK, 2 Zagreb, 5 Doha; Ind: 1 Seattle, 4 Boston (A)

3 Piers Copeland
26.11.98 (2y, 7) 3:39.50, 3:56.05M ’19
3:35.32, 3:35.69, 3:37.00, 3:37.51; 3:38.81i, 3:40.25i 6 Marseille, 1 Poznan, 2 Bellinzona, 8 Doha; Ind: 1 Sheffield, 1 Dortmund, 4 Glasgow

Wightman ran only once at 1500m in 2020, but that brilliant performance in Monaco took him to second on the UK all-time list (behind Mo Farah).

5000m

1 Marc Scott
21.12.93 (6y, 3) 13:22.37 ’17, 13:21.97i ’19
1 UK 13:32.98; 3 Portland 14:13.93; 2 Boston (A) 13:08.87i

2 Sam Atkin
14.3.93 (2y, 4) 13:33.51i, 13:33.70 ’19
2 Lake Balboa 13:23.38; 4 San Juan Capistrano 13:18.57

3 Jack Rowe
30.1.96 (1y, -) 13:54.99 ’19
2 UK 13:37.85; Ind: 4 Seattle 13:54.72

Scott had a fine year with times from 3:35.93 for 1500m to 60:39 half marathon, and his 13:08.87 indoor 5000m was the best of all.

Marc Scott racing in Manchester. Photo by Mark Shearman

10,000m

1 Sam Atkin
14.3.93 (2y, 4) 29:44.33 ’16
4 San Juan Capistrano 27:26.58

2 Mohamed Farah
23.3.83 (10y, -) 26:46.57 ’11
28:11.9+ in 1 hour WR at Brussels (adding a 2nd 10,000m in 28:08 to 20,000m in 56:20.02)

Atkin replaces Farah at the top of the rankings thanks to his 27:26.58 in California at the start of December. Farah had never previously been other than first in his 10 years in the rankings.

10 miles – half-marathon

1 Mohamed Farah
23.3.83 (9y, 1) 59:22 ‘15
1 Larne 60:27. 20k/1Hr: 1 Brussels 56:20.40/21,330m

2 Callum Hawkins
22.6.92 (6y, 2) 60:00 ’17
3 Marugame 60:01 (20k 56:58)

3 Jake Smith
19.5.98 (2y, 6) 62:03 ’19
18 WCh 60:31 (57:27), 3 London (2 UK) 62:00

Farah’s world record for one hour as well as his win in Larne ensures his top ranking for the 10th time.

Marathon

1 Jonathan Mellor
27.12.86 (5y, 4) 2:12:29 ’19
23 Seville 2:10:04, 13 London 2:10:38

2 Ben Connor
17.10.92 (1y, -) -0-
14 London 2:11:20

3 Joshua Griffiths
3.11.93 (4y, 6) 2:14:25 ’19
18 London 2:13:11

After taking over two minutes off his PB at Seville, Mellor was close to that in London to become UK champion.

3000m steeplechase

1 Phil Norman
20.10.89 (4y, 2) 8:29.3 ’19
2 Turku 8:23.60, 1 UK 8:32.51

2 Mark Pearce
19.1.96 (2y, 8) 8:42.63 ’10
2 UK 8:33.61, 2 V.Veneto 8:34.38

3 Zak Seddon
28.6.94 (9y, 1) 8:21.28 ’19
6 Turku 8:36.72, 11 Monaco 8:38.86

Norman takes over from Seddon as top ranked and both he and Pearce made substantial improvements on their PBs.

110m hurdles

1 Andrew Pozzi
15.5.92 (8y, 1) 13.14, 13.13w ’17
13.14, 13.15, 13.17, 13.25, 13.30, 13.31 1 Rieti, 1 Savona, 1 Trieste, 1 Turku, 2 Monaco, 6 Székes’r, 2 Rovereto, 1 Rome

2 David King
13.6.94 (7y, 2) 13.48 ’17, 13.4h ’16
13.51, 13.54, 13.57, 13.58, 13.62, 13.70 1 Nuneaton 2/8 & 16/8, 3 Turku, 2B Székes’r, 1 UK, 4 Bellinzona. 3 Doha

3 Cameron Fillery
2.11.98 (4y, 3) 13.54 ’19
13.55, 13.63, 13.76, 13.77, 13.83, 13.90; 13.71w, 13.80w 2B Nuneaton 12/7, 2/2 Nuneaton 2/8 & 16/8, 1 Bydgoszcz, 1 Nuneaton 23/8, 2 UK, 2 Dessau, 8 Bellinzona, 5 Doha

Pozzi had a full season and was back to his best, top ranked for the fifth successive year.

Andrew Pozzi in Rome. Photo by Giancarlo Colombo / FIDAL

400m hurdles

1 Alastair Chalmers
31.3.00 (4y, 5) 50.07 ’19
49.66, 49.87, 49.88, 51.01; 1/1 St.Peter Port, 1 UK

2 Efekemo Okoro
21.2.92 (3y, 6) 50.33 ’19
49.68, 50.28, 50.35, 50.35, 50.40, 50.98 2 Regensburg, 1 Nuneaton 2/8 & 23/8, 3 UK, 2 Samorín, 5 Bellinzona

3 Christopher McAlister
3.12.95 (5y, 1) 49.18 ’19
50.11, 50.23, 50.54, 50.71, 50.95, 50.96 2 Nuneaton 2/8, 4 Turku, 1 C-de-Fonds, 2 UK, 7 Rovereto, 6 Berlin, 1B Bellinzona

Chalmers continued his progress after ranking fifth in 2019 with three sub-50 runs.

High jump

1 Tom Gale
18.12.98 (5y, 2) 2.30 ’16
2.33i, 2.31i, 2.30i, 2.28i, 2.27i 1 Cardiff, 1 Trinec, 1 Hustopece, 3 Banská B, 1 UKi

2 David Smith
14.7.91 (11y, 5) 2.25 ’14
2.24i, 2.23i, 2.20i; Ind: 1 Chemnitz, 1 Athlone, 2 UKi

3 William Grimsey
14.12.96 (4y, 4) 2.22 ’19
2.15; 2.24i, 2.21i, 2.20i 2 UK; Ind: 1 Lough 11/1. 1 Cologne, 2B Hustopece

Gale was best in the world in the indoor season going to sixth on the UK all-time list, but did not compete outdoors, like many of Britain’s best, due to a knee injury.

Pole vault

1 Harry Coppell
11.7.96 (8y, 1) 5.40 ‘14
5.85, 5.60, 5.42, 5.42; 5.80i, 5.80i, 5.70i 6= Chorzów, 1 UK, 8= Berlin, 5 Rome, nh Doha; Ind: 1 Mondeville, 2 Rouen, 5= Glasgow, 9 Liévin, 5 C-Ferrand

2 Adam Hague
29.8.97 (7y, 2) 5.65 ‘18
5.41, 5.20; 5.60i, 5.60i, 5.60i, 5.55i, 5.53i, 5.50i 1 LI, 2 UK; Ind: 1 Sheffield, 1 Nantes, 2 Mondeville, 2= Athlone, 7 Glasgow, 1 UKi, 2 Liévin

3 Charlie Myers
12.6.97 (6y, 2) 5.71 ‘19
5.20, 5.60i; Ind: 1 Gateshead 16/1, nh Glasgow

Coppell retained his top ranking and after two 5.80m jumps indoors at the UK Champs broke Steve Lewis’s British record outdoors.

Harry Coppell in Manchester. Photo by Mark Shearman

Long jump

1 Reynold Banigo
13.8.98 (3y, 5) 7.77i, 7.74 ’19, 7.87w ’18
7.84, 7.81, 7.77; 7.85i, 7.75i, 7.72i 1 Mid Open, 1 UK; Ind: 1 Scot, 1 Lough 1/2, 1 B.Uns

2 Daniel Bramble
14.10.90 (10y, 2) 8.21 ’15
7.81i. 7.74i; Ind: 3 Ostrava, 1 UKi

3 Jack Roach 8.1.95 (3y, -) 7.71 ’18
7.83, 7.65w, 7.60; 7.45i, 7.30i, 7.23i; 1 Nuneaton 2/8, 2 B’mouth, 2 UK; Ind: 2 Kuldiga, 5 Scot, 7 UKi

Banigo’s steady rise continued and he took over the top ranking.

Triple jump

1 Nathan Douglas
4.12.82 (19y, 2) 17.64 ’05
16.34w, 15.80, 15.77; 1 Nuneaton 16/8 & 23/8, 1 UK

2 Michael Puplampu
11.1.90 (6y, 4) 16.50 ’19, 16.59w ’12
16.21i, 15.72i; Ind: 1 Vienna, 1 UKi

3 Efe Uwaifo
15.5.95 (7y, 8) 16.16, 16.31w ’19
16.18i, 15.77i, 15.53i; Ind: 1 Scot, 3 Vienna, 2 UKi

The remarkable Nathan Douglas takes top ranking for the fourth time (previously 2005, 2013 and 2018) and his 19 years in the rankings takes him ahead of Jonathan Edwards for the event’s third highest.

Shot

1 Scott Lincoln
7.5.93 (8y, 1) 20.39 ‘19
20.65, 20.41, 20.16, 19.86, 19.82, 19.65; 19.85i 1 Hendon, 1 Hull, 1 Norwich, 1 LI. 1 Stretford, 1 Darlington, 1 UK; Ind: 5 Jablonec, 4 Nehvizdy, 5 Rochlitz, 1 UKi

2 Youcef Zatat
13.4.94 (7y, 2) 18.50 ’19
18.61i, 17.85i; Ind: 1 Vienna, 2 UKi

3 Lewis Byng
29.9.01 (2y, 4) 17.16 ’19
18.56, 16.66; 2 LI, 2 UK

Lincoln is easily top for the sixth year and had PBs at 20.41 and 20.65 so is now fifth in the UK all-time list.

Discus

1 Lawrence Okoye
6.10.91 (4y, 4) 68.24 ’12
65.15, 64.85, 64.22, 63.02, 62.53 nt LI, 1 Osterode, 1 Magdeburg, 2 Schönebeck, 1 Stretford, 7 Székes’vár

2 Nicholas Percy
5.12.94 (8y, 1) 63.38 ’16
63.02, 62.73, 62.04, 61.88, 61.83, 61.57 1 Lough-w, 1/1 LV, LI, 1 Aberdare, 1 Winchester, 1 Nuneaton 23/8, 1 Chelmsford, 1/1/1/1 B’mouth, 1 UK, 1 Moulton, 1 Portsmouth, 1 So’ton

3 George Armstrong
8.12.97 (4y, 5) 61.21 ’19
58.48; 2 UK

Okoye continued his most welcome comeback in five meetings, four in Europe, before a hernia injury.

Hammer

1 Taylor Campbell
30.6.96 (7y, 2) 74.63 ’19
74.98; 1 Lough-w

2 Craig Murch
27.6.93 (6y, 4) 73.64 ’19
73.24, 72.95, 71.61, 70.31, 70.20, 69.06 2 Lough-w, 2 Hendon, 1 Nuneaton 12/7, 2/8, 16/8 & 23/8, 1 UK

3 Osian Jones
23.6.93 (6y, 3) 73.89 ’19
72.59; 3 Lough-w

Nick Miller did not compete and list leader Taylor Campbell had just one competition in March.

Javelin

1 James Whiteaker
8.10.98 (4y, -) 77.03 ‘17
77.81, 75.99; 1 Nuneaton 2/8, 1 UK

2 Daniel Bainbridge
2.6.99 (3y, 10) 69.00 ’18
72.68, 71.67, 70.50, 70.26, 70.15 2 Lough-w, 1 Bern, 2 Meilen, 1 LI, 2 UK

3 Harry Hughes
26.9.97 (5y, 1) 80.32 ’19
72.90; 1 Lough-w

The 2018 No.1 Whiteaker returned to rank first.

Decathlon

1 Howard Bell
2.5.98 (1y, -) 6834 ’18
3 Warsaw 6891

No top competitions in the UK.

20km walk

1 Callum Wilkinson
14.3.97 (4y, 2) 1:21:34 ’17
4 Alytus 1:21:21

2 Tom Bosworth
17.1.90 (11y, 1)
1 POR Ch 1:23:56

3 Cameron Corbishley
31.3.97 (5y, 3) 1:24;42 ’19
5 in Dudince 50k 1:32:02

Tom Bosworth set UK records at 5000m indoors and 10km road and then raced 20km late in the year but Wilkinson takes over top spot with a PB in Lithuania after three years at No.2.

50km walk

No races in Britain. Cameron Corbishley contested the Dudince 50km, but dropped out after 35km.

» For the full lists for every event, including the details of athletes’ seasons and more in-depth explanations, see our 80-page end-of-year rankings supplement which was published with the December edition of AW magazine and is available to order online in print here and read digitally here

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» Peter Matthews is the co-editor of Athletics International. For more information on receiving the Athletics International newsletter email [email protected]