Top middle and long distance female runners from the past 12 months as our series of annual merit rankings continues

Once again Athletics International has been pleased to collaborate with Athletics Weekly in producing these annual statistics, writes Peter Matthews.

As always, our world top-10 merit rankings, compiled by an international panel of experts, will no doubt provoke discussion. There can be no definitive pecking order for 2021, but the panel has done its best by carefully applying the various criteria for judging athletes’ performances over the year.

In terms of world rankings. In 2016 and 2017 a total of 17 Britons ranked among the top 10 in their events; in 2018 there were 15 but in 2019 the number was down to 11. This year the figure was 15.

Josh Kerr, at 1500m, was the only British male to win an individual medal at the Olympic Games and he and Elliot Giles 800m were the highest ranked at 5th in their events. Four more British athletes were included: Nick Miller (7th hammer), Andrew Pozzi (9th 110m hurdles), Lawrence Okoye (9th discus) and Daniel Rowden (10th 800m).

As is becoming usual, women fared better with nine ranked (two at two events). They were headed by the remarkable Keely Hodgkinson (2nd 800m), then Laura Muir (3rd 1500m and 7th at 800m), Holly Bradshaw (3rd pole vault), Jemma Reekie (4th 800m), Dina Asher-Smith (6th 100m and 7th 200m), and 9th places for Daryll Neita (100m), Jodie Williams (400m), Cindy Sember (100m hurdles) and Jazmin Sawyers (long jump).

Subscribers to AI are receiving this data with our compliments and we hope that AW readers will also find much of interest and value in this section. We wish all readers a happy, healthy, stimulating and peaceful Olympic year.

For our annual world merit rankings, the International selection panel comprised Mirko Jalava (FIN), Alfons Juck (SVK), A Lennart Julin (SWE), Stuart Mazdon UK) and Ed Gordon (USA) joined by Elliott Denman for the walks and this year by Mark Butler, with the editor of “Athletics International”, Peter Matthews.

After the extraordinary year in 2020 compilation there remained difficulties and cancellation of various meetings, particularly early on in 2021. However, the Olympic Games were held successfully as were most of the Diamond League fixtures and, vitally for depth of performance, US collegiate action returned.

Following each athlete’s name in these event-by-event rankings are: date of birth (day.month.year), and in brackets: number of years ranked and 2019 and 2020 top-10 rankings. Then their five/six best marks in 2021 and details of placings and performances in significant competitions. In these results marks in brackets were in qualifying, marks after w/ are best ‘wind legal’ marks in that competition.

Athing Mu takes 800m gold ahead of Keely Hodgkinson (Getty)

800 METRES
1. Athing Mu USA
8.6.02 (1y)
1:55.04, 1:55.21, 1:56.07, 1:57.73, 1:58.07
1 Coll. Station 2:01.07i
1 SEC 1:58.40i
1 Waco 1:57.73
1 US Ch/OT 1:56.07 (1:59.31)
1 OG 1:55.21 (1:58.07)
1 Eugene 1:55.04
2. Keely Hodgkinson GBR
3.3.02 (1y)
1:55.88, 1:57.51, 1:57.98, 1:58.16, 1:58.30
1 Vienna 1:59.03i
4 Liévin 2:01.71i
1 Eur Ind 2:03.89i
1 Ostrava 1:58.89
5 Doha 2:00.63
1 UK Ch 1:59.61
4 Stockholm 1:57.51
2 OG 1:55.88 (1:59.12)
5 Eugene 1:58.30
2 Brussels 1:58.16
1 Zürich 1:57.98
3. Natoya Goule JAM
30.3.91 (3y, 19- 5)
1:56.44, 1:57.35, 1:57.71, 1:57.84, 1:58.09
1 Clemson 2:01.08i
2 Miramar 2:00.92
2 Doha 1:59.70
1 JAM Ch 1:57.84
2 Stockholm 1:56.44
4 Monaco 1:57.35
8 OG 1:58.26 (1:59.57, 1:59.83)
3 Eugene 1:57.71
1 Brussels 1:58.09
3 Zürich 1:58.34
1 Bellinzona 1:58.20
4. Jemma Reekie GBR
6.3.98 (2y, 20- 2)
1:56.90, 1:56.96, 1:58.27, 1:58.41, 1:58.61
1 Liévin 2:00.64i
2 Eugene 24/4 2:03.26
1 Walnut 1:58.27
1 Samorín 1:59.60
1 Hengelo 2:00.77
1 Marseille 1:58.41
2 UK Ch 2:00.12
2 Monaco 1:56.96
4 OG 1:56.90 (1:59.77, 1:59.97)
8 Eugene 2:00.27
3 Brussels 1:58.77
4 Zürich 1:58.61
5. Raevyn Rogers USA
7.9.96 (3y, 19- 3)
1:56.81, 1:57.66, 1:58.01, 1:59.28, 1:59.66
3 Eugene 24/4 2:03.89
5 Walnut 1:59.66
6 Portland 1:59.72
2 US Ch/OT 1:57.66 (1:59.66, 2:00.75)
3 OG 1:56.81 (1:59.28)
4 Eugene 1:58.01
6. Kate Grace USA
24.10.88 (2y)
1:57.20, 1:57.36, 1:57.60, 1:57.60, 1:58.34
6 Austin 2:02.76
6 Eugene 24/4 2:04.55
1B Walnut 1:59.72
3 Portland 1:59.04
7 US Ch/OT 1:59.17 (1:59.43, 2:00.81)
1 Oslo 1:57.60
3 Stockholm 1:57.36
3 Monaco 1:57.20
2 Eugene 1:57.60
5 Brussels 1:59.22
2 Zürich 1:58.34
7. Laura Muir GBR
9.5.93 (3y, 20- 4)
1:56.73, 1:58.46, 1:58.71, 2:00.24, 2:00.95
2 Walnut 1:58.46
1 Irvine 1:58.71
2 Hengelo 2:00.95
3 UK Ch 2:00.24
1 Monaco 1:56.73
8. Habitam Alemu ETH
9.7.97 (3y)
1:57.56, 1:57.71, 1:58.16, 1:58.40, 1:59.01; 1:58.19i
1 Metz 2:00.85i
2 Liévin 2:00.86i
1 Torun 1:58.19i
1 Madrid 1:58.94i
4 Doha 2:00.02
2 ETH Trials 1:58.16
5 Monaco 1:57.71
6 OG 1:57.56 (1:58.40)
4 Brussels 1:59.01
6 Zürich 1:59.48
9. Rose Mary Almanza CUB
13.7.92 (4y, 20- 7)
1:56.28, 1:56.42, 1:58.02, 1:58.51, 1:59.57A
1 Guatemala City 1:59.76A/1:59.57A
1 Ordizia 1:56.42
1 Castellón 1:58.02
1 Stockholm 1:56.28
9 Monaco 1:58.51
4s3 OG 1:59.65 (2:00.71)
10. Wang Chunyu CHN
17.1.95 (1y)
1:57.00, 1:59.14, 1:59.18, 1:59.42, 2:00.05
1 CHN Ch 1:59.42
1 Hangzhou 1:59.18
5 OG 1:57.00 (1:59.14, 2:00.05)
1 CHN NG 2:01.02
Two 19-year-olds top the rankings – the exciting talents of Mu and Hodgkinson.

» To read all our 2021 rankings – international and British – CLICK HERE

Faith Kipyegon wins 1500m gold (Getty)

1500 METRES
1. Faith Kipyegon KEN
10.1.94 (8y, 20- 2, 19- 2)
3:51.07, 3:53.11, 3:53.23, 3:53.91, 3:56.80
2 Florence 3:53.91
1 KEN Ch 4:02.10A
1 Monaco 3:51.07
1 OG 3:53.11 (3:56.80, 4:01.49)
1 Eugene 3:53.23
1 Zürich 3:58.33
1 Nairobi 4:02.40A
2. Sifan Hassan NED
.93 (7y, 19- 1)
3:53.60, 3:53.63, 4:14.74M/3:56.69, 3:55.86, 3:58.55
1 Florence 3:53.63
2 Monaco 3:53.60
3 OG 3:55.86 (4:00.23, 4:05.17)
1 Brussels 4:14.74M/3:56.69
2 Zürich 3:58.55
3. Laura Muir GBR
9.5.93 (7y, 20- 1, 19- 5)
3:54.50, 3:55.59, 4:00.73, 4:01.54, 4:03.73; 3:59.58i
2 Liévin 3:59.58i
1 Eugene 24/4 4:01.54
1 Gateshead 4:03.73
3 Florence 3:55.59
2 OG 3:54.50 (4:00.73, 4:03.89)
12 Eugene 4:05.92
4. Gudaf Tsegay ETH
23.1.97 (6y, 20- 4, 19- 4)
3:54.01, 4:02.4A; 3:53.09i
1 Addis Ababa 4:02.4A
1 Liévin 3:53.09i
1 Chorzów (Kus) 3:54.01
5. Freweyni Hailu ETH
12.2.01 (1y)
3:56.28, 3:57.33, 3:57.54, 3:57.60, 4:02.24
3 ETH Ch 4:07.9A
1 Ostrava 4:04.20
1 ETH Trials 3:57.33
3 Monaco 3:56.298
4 OG 3:57.60 (3:57.54, 4:04.12)
1 Lausanne 4:02.24
3 Nairobi 4:04.39A
6. Gabriela DeBues-Stafford CAN
13.9.95 (2y, 19- 8)
3:58.28, 3:58.93, 4:00.46, 4:00.69, 4:01.74
1 Austin 4:10.09
2 Walnut 4:00.69
4 Florence 4:00.46
5 OG 3:58.93 (3:58.28, 4:03.70)
6 Eugene 4:01.74
7. Linden Hall AUS
22.10.96 (1y)
3:59.01, 3:59.67, 3:59.73, 4:00.00mx, 4:01.37
1 Melbourne 4:04.33/3:59.67
1 Canberra 4:02.02
1 AUS Ch 4:07.56
6 OG 3:59.01 (4:01.37, 4:02.27)
2 Eugene 3:59.73
2 Lausanne 4:02.95
3 Brussels 4:21.38M/4:04.28
6 Zürich 4:03.50
mixed: Cairns 4:00.00
8. Josette Norris USA
15.11.95 (1y)
3:59.72, 4:00.07, 4:00.41, 4:22.71M/4:05.15, 4:03.27
1 Virginia Beach 4:31.39Mi
2 W-Salem 4:31.48i
1 Charlottesville 4:07.35
1 Des Moines 4:06.17
1 Attleboro 4:06.30
1 Mission Viejo 3:59.72
1 Raleigh 4:25.92M
3 Eugene 4:00.07
3 Lausanne 4:03.27
6 Brussels 4:22.71M/4:05.15
3 Zürich 4:00.41
9. Winnie Nanyondo UGA
23.8.93 (2y, 19- 10)
3:59.80, 4:00.72, 4:00.84, 4:01.18, 4:01.64
2 Karlsruhe 4:12.36i
7 Ostrava 4:08.44
7 Gateshead 4:10.50
5 Florence 4:00.84
4 Monaco 4:01.18
5 Gateshead 4:29.08M
7 OG 3:59.80 (4:01.64, 4:02.24)
4 Eugene 4:00.72
8 Brussels 4:23.09M/4:05.31
8 Zürich 4:04.80
10. Elinor Purrier St. Pierre USA
20.2.95 (2y, 20- 5)
3:58.03, 3:58.36, 4:01.00, 4:01.75, 4:05.34
1 Walnut 3:58.36
1 US Ch/OT 3:58.03 (4:09.18)
10 OG 4:01.75 (4:01.00, 4:05.34)
Two special talents head the rankings with Muir a solid third, Close for 10th Purrier v Nozomi Tanaka

Hellen Obiri leads the Olympic 5000m (Getty)

5000 METRES
1. Sifan Hassan NED
.93 (5y, 20- 1, 19- 2)
dnf Monaco
1 Irvine 14:35.34
in Hengelo 10k 14:38.75+
1 OG 14:36.79 (14:47.89)
1 Eugene 14:27.89
2. Hellen Obiri KEN
13.12.89 (6y, 20- 1, 19- 1)
1 Nairobi 15/5 15:22.64
2 KEN Ch 14:52.51A
1 Oslo 14:26.23
2 OG 14:38.36 (14:55.77)
3 Brussels 14:26.43
2 Zürich 14:29.68x
3. Gudaf Tsegay ETH
23.1.97 (1y)
1 ETH Ch 14:49.7A
1 ETH Trial 14:13.32
3 OG 14:38.87 (14:55.74)
4. Francine Niyonsaba BDI
5.5.93 (1y)
3 Andújar 15:12.08
4 Montreuil 14:54.38
dq h2 OG (14:56.6dq)
1 Brussels 14:25.34
1 Zürich 14:28.98x
5. Ejgayehu Taye ETH
10.02.00 (1y)
2 Addis Ababa 15:37.7A
2 ETH Trial 14:14.09
5 OG 14:41.24 (14:48.52)
2 Brussels 14:25.63
3 Zürich 14:30.30x
6. Senbere Teferi ETH
3.5.95 (5y)
3 ETH Trial 14:15.24
6 OG 14:45.11 (14:48.31
2 Eugene 14:42.25
7. Agnes Tirop KEN
23.10.95 (3y)
3 KEN Ch 14:53.91A
4 OG 14:39.62 (14:48.01)
8. Margaret Kipkemboi KEN
9.2.93 (4y, 19- 5)
4 KEN Ch 14:58.61A
3 Oslo 14:28.24
6 Stockholm 14:52.11
4 Brussels 14:27.12
4 Zürich 14:31.18x
1 Nairobi 14:55.27A
9. Fantu Worku ETH
29.3.99 (2y, 19- 9)
1 Addis Ababa 15:27.4A
4 ETH Trial 14:29.63
2 Oslo 14:26.80
3 Eugene 14:42.85
6 Zürich 14:43.60x
10. Lilian Rengeruk KEN
3.5.97 (4y, 19- 6)
1 KEN Ch 14:52.18A
12 OG 14:55.85 (14:50.36)
5 Brussels 14:30.32
7 Zürich 14:50.75x
3 Nairobi 15:17.71A
Hassan is only eighth on the 2021 world list, but she must be ranked top. Unbeaten, she produced a devastating finish at the Olympic Games. 10th is contested between Rengeruk and Eva Cherono.

10,000 METRES
1. Sifan Hassan NED
.93 (3y, 20- 1, 19- 1)
1 Hengelo 29:06.82
1 OG 29:55.32
2. Letesenbet Gidey ETH
20.3.98 (2y, 19- 2)
1 ETH Trial 29:01.03
3 OG 30:01.72
3. Kalkidan Gezahegne BRN
8.5.91 (1y)
2 Maia 29:50.77
2 OG 29:56.18
4. Gudaf Tsegay ETH
23.1.97 (1y)
1 Maia 29:39.42
5. Hellen Obiri KEN
13.12.89 (2y, 19- 5)
1 Nairobi 13/3 31:24.7A
1 KEN Ch 30:53.60A
4 OG 30:24.27
6. Irene Cheptai KEN
4.2.92 (2y)
4 Stockholm 30:51.39
2 KEN Ch 31:06.86A
6 OG 30:44.00
7. Tsige Gebreselama ETH
30.9.00 (1y)
2 ETH Trial 30:06.01
dnf OG
8. Tsehay Gemechu ETH
20.5.98 (3y, 20- 5, 19- 7)
2 Addis Ababa 32:37.0A
3 ETH Trial 30:19.29
dq OG (9- 31:04.43dq)
9. Yalemzerf Yehualaw ETH
22.7.91 (1y)
1 Addis Ababa 32:03.0A
4 ETH Trial 30:20.77
10. Francine Niyonsaba BDI
5.5.93 (1y)
6 ETH Trial 31:08.51
5 OG 30:41.93
World records were set at Hengelo, by Hassan on June 6 and two days later by Gidey in the Ethiopian Trial race, and then they were 1st and 3rd at the Olympics, with Gezahegne, who two preferred for 2nd rank, between then. As for the men the Olympics and the Ethiopian Trial were the top races.

Peres Jepchirchir, Brigid Kosgei, Molly Seidel (Getty)

MARATHON
1. Peres Jepchirchir KEN
27.9.93 (2y, 20- 1)
1 OG 2:27:20
1 New York 2:22:39
2. Joyciline Jepkosgei KEN
8.12.93 (2y, 20- 4)
1 London 2:17:43
3. Brigid Kosgei KEN
20.2.94 (5y, 20- 2, 19- 1)
2 OG 2:27:36
4 London 2:18:40
4. Angela Tanui KEN
27.7.92 (1y)
1 Dhaka 2:29:04
1 Ampugnano 2:20:08
1 Amsterdam 2:17:57
5. Hiwot Gebrekidan ETH
11.5.95 (1y)
1 Milan 2:19:35
2 Berlin 2:21:23
6. Degitu Azimeraw ETH
24.1.99 (1y)
2 London 2:17:58
7. Ashete Bekere ETH
17.4.88 (2y, 19- 7
3 London 2:18:18
8. Lornah Chemtai Salpeter ISR
12.12.88 (2y, 20- 3)
1 HaKhula 2:22:37
66 OG 2:48:31
5 London 2:18:54
9. Nancy Jelagat Rotich KEN
24.12.87
1 Valencia 2:19:31
10. Valary Aiyabei KEN
8.6.91 (1y, -)
3 Prague 2:22:39
22 Eldoret 2:29:09A
6 London 2:20:35
Similar comments apply as for the men’s marathon, but while others were faster Jepchirchir was the obvious choice for top ranking.

3000 METRES STEEPLECHASE
1. Norah Tanui (Jeruto) KEN
2.10.95 (4y, 19- 3)
8:53.65, 9:00.67, 9.07.33
1 Doha 9:00.67
1 Eugene 8:53.65
1 Zürich 9:07.33
2. Courtney Frerichs USA
18.1.93 (4y, 19- 10)
8:57.77, 9:04.79, 9:08.74, 9:11.79, 9:19.34
1 Walnut 9:27.70
1 Portland 9:21.13
2 USA Ch/OT 9:11.79 (9:27.75)
2 OG 9:04.79 (9:19.34)
2 Eugene 8:57.77
3 Zürich 9:08.74
3. Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi KEN
13.1.92 (10y, 20- 1, 19- 3)
9:00.05, 9:03.82, 9:04.34, 9:05.39, 9:07.58
4 Doha 9:07.58
1 KEN Ch 9:24.5A
1 Stockholm 9:04.34
1 Monaco 9:03.82
3 OG 9:05.39 (9:23.17)
3 Eugene 9:00.05
2 Zürich 9:08.55
4. Mekides Abebe ETH
29.7.01 (1y)
9:02.52, 9:06.16, 9:09.59, 9:13.63, 9:18.71
1 ETH Ch 9:51.7A
2 Doha 9:02.52
1 Hengelo (ETH-Tr) 9:13.63
4 OG 9:06.16 (9:23.95)
8 Eugene 9:18.71
4 Zürich 9:09.59
5. Winfred Yavi BRN
31.12.99 (3y, 19- 7)
9:02.64, 9:04.27, 9:05.45, 9:10.80, 9:12.41
3 Doha 9:02.64
1 Turku 9:17.55
3 Monaco 9:05.45
10 OG 9:19.74 (9:10.80)
4 Eugene 9:04.27
5 Zürich 9:12.41
6. Peruth Chemutai UGA
10.7.99 (3y, 19- 9)
9:01.45, 9:10.87, 9:12.72, 9:20.16, 9:22.09
1 Kampala 9:43.80A
8 Doha 9:22.09
5 Hengelo 9:53.74
1 OG 9:01.45 (9:12.72)
7 Eugene 9:10.87
7 Zürich 9:20.16
7. Beatrice Chepkoech KEN
6.7.91 (6y, 20- 2, 19- 1)
9:04.94, 9:10.52, 9:16.33, 9:19.82, 9:25.0A
2 KEN Ch 9:25.0A
3 Stockholm 9:10.52
2 Monaco 9:04.94
7 OG 9:16.33 (9:19.82)
8. Emma Coburn USA
19.10.90 (7y, 19- 2)
9:08.22, 9:09.02, 9:09.41, 9:16.91, 9:21.32
5 Doha 9:08.22
1 USA Ch/OT 9:09.41 (9:21.32)
4 Monaco 9:09.02
dq (14) OG (9:41.50dq) (9:16.91)
9. Gesa-Felicitas Krause GER
3.8.92 (5y, 19- 5)
9:07.61, 9:09.13, 9:14.00, 9:15.03, 9:16.89
7 Doha 9:16.89
1 GER Ch 9:31.36
2 Stockholm 9:09.03
5 Monaco 9:15.03
5 OG 9:14.00 (9:19.62)
6 Eugene 9:07.61
9 Zürich 9:32.68
1 Berlin 9:26.00
10. Celliphine Chespol KEN
23.3.99 (4y, 19- 8)
9:07.07, 9:10.26, 9:30.55A, 9:52.10A
10 KEN Ch 9:52.1A
5 Eugene 9:07.07
5 Zürich 9:10.26
1 Nairobi 9:30.55A
Although she missed the Olympics, Tanui ran easily the year’s fastest time and won each of her three races – all in Diamond League meetings. Close for 9-10.

» The Athletics International newsletter is edited by Peter Matthews and has for the past 26 years, been keeping readers in more than 50 countries informed of very detailed results (to at least world top 150-200 standards) and news items from around the world. It is available only by email, with at least 35 issues scheduled for 2022.

Annual subscription: £75 or US$105 or 90 euros. Cash or cheques drawn on a UK bank, payable to Athletics International, or by bank transfer on request. Subs please to Athletics International, via Richard Hymans, 235 Lonsdale Road, Barnes, London SW13 9QN. Email: [email protected] For more general info about AI, email [email protected]

» To read all our 2021 rankings – international and British – CLICK HERE