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 women’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 men’s rankings can be found here, while international rankings are to follow.

100m

1 Imani Lansiquot
17.12.97 (5y, 4) 11.09 ‘19
11.16, 11.19, 11.23, 11.27, 11.42; 11.26w 1 Leverkusen, 1 Chorzów 25/8, 1 UK, 5 Rome

2 Kristal Awuah
7.8.99 (3y, 5) 11.16 ’18
11.27, 11.33, 11.37, 11.44, 11.44, 11.47, 11.53; 11.34w 1 Dortmund, 2 UK, 2 Rovereto, 1/1 Poznan, 3 Berlin, 2 Bellinzona, 2 Leiden, 4 Doha

3 Daryll Neita
29.8.96 (6y, 2) 11.12 ‘19
11.31, 11.45, 11.50, 11.56, 11.65 1 Sollentuna, 8 Monaco, 5 Bydgoszcz, 3 Marseille

Lansiquot was clearly the best at 100m this year, although Awuah made steady progress. British record-holder Dina Asher-Smith restricted her competition in 2020 to three races at 150m.

200m

1 Kristal Awuah
7.8.99 (2y, 8) 23.24 ’19
23.05A, 23.20, 23.56 1 Dortmund, dq h1 UK, 1 Leiden, 1 Nairobi

2 Amarachi Pipi
26.11.95 (4y, -) 22.95, 22.83w ’17
24.52; 23.23i, 23.33i, 23.35i, 23.69i 3 LV; Ind: 1 London, 1 Vienna, 1 UKi

3 Hannah Williams
23.4.98 (1y, -) 24.21 ’18
23.81, 23.83, 23.95; 23.05w, 23.54wmx 1 LV, 1 Nuneaton 23/8, 1 UK

Awuah won three of her four 200m races, ending with an excellent win over the half-lap distance in Nairobi.

400m

1 Laviai Nielsen
13.3.96 (6y, 1) 50.83 ’19
51.70, 51.72, 52.16, 52.24, 52.39, 52.40 1 Belfast, 2 Sopot, 2 Székes’vár, 2 Stockholm, 1 UK, 1 Dessau, 1 Samorín, 7 Rome

2 Jessie Knight
15.6.94 (1y, -) 53.16i ’19
53.47 ’17 51.9mx, 52.42, 52.52; 51.57i, 52.21i, 52.76i 5 Székes’vár, 4 Stockholm, Ind: 1r4 Vienna, 1 Linz, 1 Glasgow, 1 UKi

3 Amber Anning
18.11.00 (2y, 5) 52.18 ’19
52.22i, 52.25i, 52.99i, 53.11i Ind: 1/1 Fayetteville, 3 College Station

Nielsen had an extensive programme, running between 51.70 and 52.77 in all nine of her 400m races. Crucially she beat Knight, who had been superb indoors, 2-0.

800m

1 Jemma Reekie
6.3.98 (2y, 8) 2:01.45 ’19
1:58.63, 1:58.87, 1:59.52, 1:59.68, 1:59.76, 2:00.0+; 1:57.91i 1 Trieste, 1 Stockholm, 1 Chorzów (Kus), 4 Bellinzona, 1 Rome; Ind: 1 Glasgow, 1 Liévin

2 Laura Muir
9.5.93 (8y, 1) 1:58.49 ’17
1:58.84, 1:59.54, 1:59.9+, 2:00.16, 2:00.34, 2:00.49, 1:58.44i 2 Trieste, 3 Bydgoszcz, 1 Marseille, 1 Ostrava, 3 Rome; Ind: 2 Glasgow

3 Alexandra Bell
4.11.92 (6y, 4) 1:59.82 ’19
2:00.28, 2:00.40, 2:01.37, 2:01.60, 2:02.25 1 Szczecin, 4 Bydgoszcz, 5 Stockholm, 1 Poznan, 6 Rome

Reekie went to fourth UK all-time and high in the world rankings from eighth in Britain in 2019 and all her times were significantly better than her pre-2020 best. The competition between her and training companion Muir was perhaps the most enjoyable feature of British athletics in 2020. A terrific nine women broke 2:02.

Jemma Reekie racing in Rome. Photo by Giancarlo Colombo / FIDAL

1500m – 1 mile

1 Laura Muir
9.5.93 (8y, 1) 3:55.22 ’16,
4:18.03M ’17 3:57.40, 3:57.86, 3:58.24; 1 Stockholm,1 Chorzów (Skol), 1 Berlin

2 Laura Weightman
1.7.91 (11y, 2) 4:00.17 ’14 4:17.60M ’19
4:00.09, 4:01.62, 4:01.96, 4:09.76, 4:17.01 2 Stockholm, 1 UK, 2 Ostrava, 2 Berlin

3 Jemma Reekie
6.3.98 (4y, 5) 4:02.09, 4:27.00M ’19
4:02.20, 4:03.25, 4:09.01; 4:17.88M/4:00.52i, 4:04.07i 1 Bydgoszcz, 1 Marseille, 3 Ostrava; Ind: 3 New York, Glasgow

Muir, top for the sixth successive year, Weightman, who improved her six-year-old PB and Reekie, who moved into the UK all-time top 10, formed the world’s finest trio.

5000m

1 Laura Weightman
1.7.91 (4y, 1) 14:44.57 ’19
3 Monaco 14:35.44

2 Eilish McColgan
25.11.90 (7y, 2) 14:46.17 ’19
7 Monaco 14:57.37

3 Melissa Courtney-Bryant
30.8.93 (4y, 5) 14:53.82 ’19
6 Ostrava 15:16.50

Weightman took 9.13 seconds off her PB with her brilliant third at Monaco to move up a place to second UK all-time and tops the rankings again.

10,000m

No races

10 miles – 20km – half-marathon

1 Charlotte Purdue
10.6.91 (9y, 1) 68:10 ’19
2 Marugame 68:23 (20k 64:46)

2 Stephanie Twell
17.8.89 (5y, 3) 71:56 ’10
8 Houston 68:55 (65:21), 74:47+

3 Charlotte Arter
18.6.91 (4y, 4) 69:41 ’19
5 Barcelona 70:01 (66:22)

Purdue had a splendid run at Marugame but was one of those who had to withdraw from the World Champs team through injury.

Marathon

1 Sarah Inglis
28.8.91 (1y, -) -0-
9 Chandler 2:29:41

2 Natasha Cockram
12.11.92 (3y, 9) 2:30:50 ’19
13 London 2:33:19

3 Naomi Mitchell
24.11.93 (1y, -) 2:38:17 ’19
14 London 2:33:23

Inglis had the one sub-2:30 time, but it is difficult to compare her run in ideal weather to the poor conditions in London.

3000m (& 2000m) steeplechase

1 Aimee Pratt
3.10.97 (5y, 3) 9:38.91 ’19
1 UK 9:30.73, 4 Berlin 9:32.50, 1 D.Charpieu 9:35.11 2000mSt: 4 Pontoise 6:18.48

2 Rosie Clarke
17.11.91 (5y, 2) 9:31.68 ’19
5 Berlin 9:32.95, 2 UK 9:46.31

3 Elizabeth Bird
4.10.94 (7y, 1) 9:30.13 ’19
13 Berlin 9:55.21; 2000mSt: 1 Pontoise 6:11.70

Pratt twice set world-leading marks and went from eighth to fourth on the UK all-time list.

Aimee Pratt racing at the British Championships. Photo by Getty Images for British Athletics

100m hurdles

1 Cindy Ofili
5.8.94 (6y, 1) 12.60 ’15
12.88, 12.95, 12.95, 12.97, 12.99, 13.02 3/3 Clermont, 1/2 Marietta 29/7, 1/1 Marietta 1/8, 4 Des Moines, 1 UK, 1 Samorín, 2 Zagreb, 4 Rome, 3 Doha

2 Tiffany Porter
13.11.87 (9y, -) 12.51 ’14, 12.47w ’12
12.90, 12.92, 12.98, 13.09, 13.09; 12.74w 2/2 Clermont, 2/1 Marietta 29/7, 2/2 Marietta 1/8, 1 Des Moines

3 Lucy-Jane Matthews
17.9.02 (2y, 6) 13.38 ’19
13.20, 13.25, 13.46, 13.48, 13.58 1 LV, 3 Lignano, 1 Nuneaton 23/8, 2 UK

After a year out through injury Porter was back in good form and beat her sister Ofili 4-3, but did not come to Europe, whereas Ofili had a worldwide campaign. Matthews, still with another year as an under-20, improved from 13.38 to 13.20.

400m hurdles

1 Jessie Knight
15.6.94 (3y, 3) 56.04 ’19
55.27, 55.44, 55.45, 55.58, 55.80, 56.23 1 Nuneaton 2/8, 1 Brussels, 2 Szczecin, 1 Chorzów, 1 UK, 6 Rome

2 Jessica Turner
8.8.95 (7y, 2) 55.72 ’19
55.89; 1 Poznan

3 Lina Nielsen
13.3.96 (4y, 4) 56.67 ’19
56.99, 57.30, 57.48, 57.61, 58.01, 58.39 4 Brussels, 2 Sopot, 4 Szczecin, 2 Gothenburg, 2 UK, 3 Poznan

Knight rose from third to first, running at a new level, with five of her seven 400m hurdles runs ahead of her pre-2020 best.

High jump

1 Bethan Partridge
11.7.90 (10y, 4) 1.89i ’17
1.87 ’15 1.91i, 1.90i, 1.90i, 1.87i, 1.87i Ind: 1 Lough, 1 Nantes, 6 Hustopece, 2 Glasgow, 1 UKi

2 Nikki Manson
15.10.94 (6y, 3) 1.90i, 1.87 ’18
1.93i, 1.92i, 1.86i, 1.84i, 1.83i, 1.82i Ind: 2 Lough, 1 Scot Open, 1 Scot, 1 Hustopece, 7= Glasgow, 3 UKi

3 Morgan Lake
12.5.97 (9y, 1) 1.97 ’18
1.82, 1.80; 1.90i, 1.86i, 1.84i 1 BIG, 1 UK, Ind: 3 Hustopece, 4= Glasgow, 2 UKi

Partridge beat both Manson and Lake for the UK Indoor title and had three indoor 1.90+ marks.

Pole vault

1 Holly Bradshaw
2.11.91 (112y, 1) 4.87i ’12
4.81 ’17 4.73, 4.70, 4.69, 4.64, 4.63, 4.48; 4.66i, 4.65i, 4.63i 1 Kuortane, 2 Turku, 1 Szczecin, 1 Stockholm, 2 Gothenburg, 2 Lausanne, 1 UK, 1 Ostrava; Ind: 1= Paris, 1 Rouen, 1 Sheffield, 4 C–Ferrand

2 Lucy Bryan
22.5.95 (10y, 2) 4.50 ’19
4.51i, 4.45i, 4.44i, 4.42i, 4.42i, 4.42i Ind: 6 wins at Akron, 3 Albuquerque

3 Sophie Cook
12.9.94 (6y, 3) 4.40i, 4.36 ’19
4.40, 4.34, 4.25, 4.13; 4.50i, 4.46i, 4.41i, 4.30i 2 Kuortane, 3 Gothenburg, 2 UK, 4= Ostrava; Ind: 1 Lough, 1 Welsh, 1B Rouen, 5= Eaubonne, 1 UKi

Bradshaw is top for a record 10th successive year and maintained her place in the world 10.

Long jump

1 Jazmin Sawyers
21.5.94 (10y, 5) 6.86 ‘18
6.74w, 6.69, 6.67, 6.59w, 6.54, 6.45; 6.47i 1 Nuneaton 2/8, 1 Turku, 1 LI, 2 Gothenburg, 1 UK, 3 Berlin, 5 Zagreb; Ind: 3 Glasgow, 2 UKi

2 Abigail Irozuru
3.1.90 (12y, 2) 6.86 ’19
6.57, 6.54, 6.53, 6.52, 6.50, 6.46; 6.60i, 6.56i 2 Turku, 5 Székes’vár, 5 Stockholm, 2 UK, 5 Berlin; Ind: 6 Karlsruhe, 5 Glasgow 1 UKi

3 Lorraine Ugen
22.8.91 (12y, 4) 7.05 ’18
6.74i, 6.52i, 5.74i; Ind: 1 Clemson, 3 Torun, 8 Glasgow

Ugen had the best jump, but only had three indoor competitions as she was seriously injured in Glasgow, whereas Irozuru and Sawyers competed regularly in international meetings, with Sawyers 4-1 ahead on win-loss to take top ranking for the first time (after 10 years in the top five).

Jazmin Sawyers celebrates her British Championships win. Photo by Getty Images for British Athletics

Triple jump

1 Naomi Ogbeta
18.4.98 (6y, 1) 14.15 ’18
13.74, 13.56, 13.52 13.44; 13.83i, 13.82i, 13.68i, 13.62i 4 Turku, 6 Monaco, 2 Brno, 1 UK; Ind: 1 North, 1 Nantes, 3 Chemnitz, 1 UKi

2 Shanara Hibbert
22.3.93 (1y, -) 12.87 ‘17
13.10w/12.66, 13.02, 12.86; 13.03i, 12.60i, 12.45i 1 LV, 1 BIG, 2 UK; Ind: 2 B’ham. 2 South, 2 UKi

3 Angela Barrett
25.12.85 (12y, 3) 13.43 ‘17
12.82w, 12.72; 12.88i, 12.87i, 12.53i 1 Nuneaton 23/8, 3 UK; Ind: 1 South, 1 Surrey, 1 Eton

Ogbeta was clearly Britain’s No.1 for the fourth time with her best jumps in all her eight competitions at least 34cm better than the best of No.2 Hibbert, who is ranked for the first time.

Shot

1 Sophie McKinna
31.8.94 (11y, 1) 18.61 ‘19
18.16, 17.88, 17.65; 17.56i, 17.39i, 17.07i 1 Norwich, 1 Chelmsford, 1 UK; Ind: 3 Rochlitz, 2 UKi

2 Amelia Strickler
24.1.94 (5y, 2) 17.83 ‘19
17.61, 17.48, 17.47, 17.43, 17.24, 17.16; 17.97i, 17.51i 1 LV, 1/1 Stretford, 1 LI, 2 UK, 3 Poznan; Ind: 1 Cardiff, 4 Rochlitz, 1 UKi, 6 São Paulo

3 Adele Nicoll
28.9.96 (9y, 4) 16.34 ‘16
16.19i, 15.98i, 15.96i, 15.76i, 15.42i Ind: 2 Cardiff, 1 B.Uns, 3 UKi

McKinna, Strickler and Nicoll stayed at one, two, three.

Discus

1 Jade Lally
30.3.87 (14y, -) 65.10 ’16
58.95, 58.76, 58.54, 58.39, 58.13, 58.04 2 Lough-w, 1 Hendon, 3 Halle, 3 Osterode, 1 Hull 1/1 LV, 1/1 Stretford, 1 LI, 1/1 St.Clement, 1 Lough 30/8, 2 UK, 2 Moulton, 1/1/2 Brisbane

2 Kirsty Law
11.10.86 (15y, 1) 57.79 ’12
57.95, 57.67, 57.66, 57.60, 57.34, 57.24 1 Lough-w, 2 Hendon, 2 Halle, 6 Osterode, 2/2 LV, 2/2 Stretford, 2 LI, 2/2 St.Clement, 2 Lough 30/8, 1 UK, 1 Moulton, 4 São Paulo

3 Shadine Duquemin
4.11.94 (10y, 4) 55.33 ’19
54.82, 53.57, 53.05, 52.72, 52.52, 52.51 3 Hendon, 3/3 LV, 2/2 Stretford, 2 LI, 1/3 St.Clement, 3 Lough 30/8, 3 UK

Lally and Law met 14 times in 2020, with Lally winning 10-4 to regain top ranking, making it nine years at no.1.

Jade Lally competes at the British Championships. Photo by Getty Images for British Athletics

Hammer

1 Jessica Mayho
14.6.93 (6y, 1) 66.44 ’19
65.47, 65.22, 64.57, 64.22, 63.79, 63.32 1 Lovelhe, 1 Salon-de-P, 1 LI, 1 Nuneaton 16/8 & 23/8, 1 UK

2 Charlotte Payne
20.3.02 (2y, 12) 61.83 ’19
63.92, 62.53, 61.82, 60.73, 60.60, 58.39 3 Lough-w, 1 Aberdare, 1/1 B’mouth, 2 UK

3 Alice Barnsdale
23.2.99 (21y, -) 62.75 ’19
62.05, 61.09, 60.61, 59.65, 59.18; 2/2/1 Hull, 1 LV, 3 UK

Mayho remains our No.1 with Payne, still a junior for 2021, moving up to second on the UK all-time U20 list.

Javelin

1 Freya Jones
13.11.93 (10y, 5) 55.36 ’14
53.12, 53.06, 48.90; 1 Lough-w, 1 B’mouth, 1 UK

2 Emma Hamplett
27.7.98 (8y, 1) 54.08 ‘18
51.80. 49.31, 47.40, 46.83; 3 Lough-w, 2 UK

3 Bethany Moule
21.11.01 (2y, 7) 46.53 ’19
51.27, 49.71, 47.12, 43.92; 2 Lough-w, 1 Yate, 3 UK

Standards in this event remain low, with the best mark being 53.12 by Jones to win the UK title, but at least nearly all the best competed at the UK Championships.

Heptathlon

1 Ellen Barber
5.12.97 (4y, 7) 5529 ’18
3 Warsaw 5699

2 Natasha Smith
10.10.99 (2y, 10) 5451(w) ’19
4 Warsaw 5290

10/20km walk

Priority is usually given to form at the standard international distance of 20 kilometres, although performances at 10km are also considered.

1 Heather Lewis
25.10.93 (10y, 1) 46:59 ’14 1:36:14 ’18
10km: 1 Coventry 45:14

2 Gemma Bridge
17.5.93 (5y, 4) 45:52 ’17, 1:32:33 ’17
10km: 2 Coventry (1 Eng) 48:05

Best mark at 20km was 1:53:02 by Natalie Myers.

50km walk

None

» 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]