Athlete form through the year has been assessed by an international panel of experts to create rankings based on merit

For the 21st year, Athletics International has collaborated with AW to produce an annual statistical review including world top 10 merit rankings.

The selection panel – consisting of Athletics International co-editors Peter Matthews and Mel Watman, with Stuart Mazdon (UK), Mirko Jalava (FIN), Alfons Juck (SVK), A Lennart Julin (SWE) and Ed Gordon (USA), plus Elliott Denman for walks – assessed the year’s records of the leading contenders and the ranking order was determined by consensus.

The criteria are the traditional ones of honours won, win-loss records and sequence of marks.

The World Championships were, of course, the major focus for most top athletes but as usual there were many other major events such as the continental championships and for the elite the Diamond League and World Challenge meetings.

Marks made indoors were not considered, nor were any athletes who were suspended for two years or longer during the year for drug-related offences.

Below we list the top three in each men’s event. The women’s international rankings can be found here, while UK merit rankings for men are here and women are here. The full top 10 lists for every event, including the details of athletes’ seasons and more in-depth explanations, appear in our December 19 end-of-year review special issue, which is available to buy and read digitally here or order in print here.

100m
1 Christian Coleman (USA)
2 Noah Lyles (USA)
3 Justin Gatlin (USA)

Coleman showed that, apart from Lyles who beat him in Shanghai, he was a class apart and he ranks top after two years at No.2.

200m
1 Noah Lyles (USA)
2 Andre De Grasse (CAN)
3 Michael Norman (USA)

Lyles ran six of the year’s 10 fastest times and lost just one of his six finals at 200m.

400m
1 Steven Gardiner (BAH)
2 Michael Norman (USA)
3 Fred Kerley (USA)

Gardiner raced sparingly but was unbeaten.

800m
1 Donavan Brazier (USA)
2 Nijel Amos (BOT)
3 Amel Tuka (BIH)

After Amos got injured Brazier was a clear No.1.

1500m
1 Timothy Cheruiyot (KEN)
2 Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR)
3 Ronald Musagala (UGA)

Cheruiyot had a near perfect season with four Diamond League wins and the world title.

5000m
1 Selemon Barega (ETH)
2 Telahun Haile (ETH)
3 Yomif Kejelcha (ETH)

Barega had no wins, but after four seconds and all his five races under 13:05, he retains his top ranking.

10,000m
1 Joshua Cheptegei (UGA)
2 Yomif Kejelcha (ETH)
3 Rhonex Kipruto (KEN)

Cheptegei only had one race, but that was a convincing win at the Worlds in the year’s fastest time.

Marathon
1 Eliud Kipchoge (KEN)
2 Kenenisa Bekele (ETH)
3 Lelisa Desisa (ETH)

Although each had only one marathon, Kipchoge and Bekele were magnificent in winning two of the major races.

3000m steeplechase
1 Soufiane El Bakkali (MAR)
2 Getnet Wale (ETH)
3 Lemecha Girma (ETH)

El Bakkali takes top ranking from the teenage Ethiopian pair.

110m hurdles
1 Grant Holloway (USA)
2 Orlando Ortega (ESP)
3 Daniel Roberts (USA)

Top ranking was a split decision between Holloway and Ortega. The former won the world title and had much better times than Ortega.

400m hurdles
1 Karsten Warholm (NOR)
2 Rai Benjamin (USA)
3 Abderrahman Samba (QAT)

Warholm had a superb unbeaten season of seven finals with three European records and returns to the top ranking he had in 2017.

High jump
1 Mikhail Akimenko (RUS)
2 Mutaz Essa Barshim (QAT)
3 Ilya Ivanyuk (RUS)

Probably the most difficult event at which to choose the No.1 and there were votes for each of the top three.

Pole vault
1 Sam Kendricks (USA)
2 Armand Duplantis (SWE)
3 Piotr Lisek (POL)

The top three athletes all cleared 6.00m or higher twice and were well clear of the rest.

Long jump
1 Juan Miguel Echevarría (CUB)
2 Tajay Gayle (JAM)
3 Luvo Manyonga (RSA)

Echevarría had seven wins from nine events.

Triple jump
1 Christian Taylor (USA)
2 Will Claye (USA)
3 Pedro Pablo Pichardo (POR)

Taylor is top for the seventh time with nine wins and three second places.

Shot
1 Ryan Crouser (USA)
2 Tom Walsh (NZL)
3 Joe Kovacs (USA)

Standards were at the highest ever for this event with a terrific World Champs.

Discus
1 Daniel Ståhl (SWE)
2 Fedric Dacres (JAM)
3 Lukas Weisshaidinger (AUT)

Ståhl had 13 of the world’s best 17 performances.

Hammer
1 Pawel Fajdek (POL)
2 Wojciech Nowicki (POL)
3 Bence Halász (HUN)

Nowicki had the year’s best throw, but Fajdek had the next six top performances and won his fourth world title in fine style.

Javelin
1 Magnus Kirt (EST)
2 Johannes Vetter (GER)
3 Andreas Hofmann (GER)

Kirt is a pretty clear selection for first as was Vetter for second.

Decathlon
1 Niklas Kaul (GER)
2 Damian Warner (CAN)
3 Maicel Uibo (EST)

Kaul’s clear Worlds success overrode Warner’s much higher score at Götzis.

20km walk
1 Toshikazu Yamanishi (JPN)
2 Perseus Karlström (SWE)
3 Vasiliy Mizinov (RUS)

Yamanishi was obviously first, winning not only the Worlds but also the Asian title in the year’s fastest time.

50km walk
1 Yusuke Suzuki (JPN)
2 Masatora Kawano (JPN)
3 Satoshi Maruo (JPN)

Suzuki was a double winner and Kawano had two sub-3:40 times.

» For the full top 10 lists for every event, including the details of athletes’ seasons and more in-depth explanations, see our December 19 end-of-year review special issue, which is available to buy and read digitally here or order in print here.

» Peter Matthews and Mel Watman are joint editors of Athletics International. For more information on receiving the Athletics International newsletter email [email protected]