Steve Smythe compares the latest athletics marks with standards from 2008, 1998, 1988 and 1978

In terms of rankings, Athletics Weekly has never published so many marks across all the age groups in one issue before (see our bumper December 20 magazine). Here we analyse senior 2018 performances and compare them with last year and 2008, 1998, 1988 and 1978 to see whether the standards are progressing as they should, though it is noticeable that the events open to women has greatly increased over the last 40 years.

Here are the marks for women’s field events.

See also: Men’s track events | Men’s field events | Women’s track events

High jump

There is a marginal improvement on last year but further back the rankings are no better than 30 and 40 years ago.

40 years ago the best was just 1.85m – compared to Morgan Lake’s 1.97m – but it took a higher jump in 1978.

Wendy Laing, who was then an intermediate, jumped 1.69m and this year she jumped 1.55m to easily be Britain’s best at W55 (or indeed W50).

The top vet this year is W45 Julia Bennett, who though a junior, was in the top 10 in 1988 with 1.84m. Laing jumped 1.71m but missed the top 30 which was completed by future 400m Olympic medallist Katharine Merry with 1.74m, though only aged 13!

           10th       30th
1978     1.79      1.75
1988     1.84      1.74
1998     1.80      1.73
2008     1.80      1.71
2017     1.80      1.73
2018     1.81      1.74

Pole vault

This is another newish event but was down on last year at 10th but better at 30th.

There are seven juniors in the top 20 and a further five under-23s so the rankings should improve in coming years.

Back in 1998 the rankings were dominated by Janine Whitlock who was 40 centimetres better than anyone else and had the 26 best jumps of the year!

           10th       30th
1978     –
1988     –
1998     3.60      3.10
2008     3.92      3.60
2017     4.00      3.64
2018     3.90      3.70

Long jump

The standards were up on last year and 6.38m for 10th in 2018 was only bettered by 2012.

The depth at 30th is edging towards six metres (and better than 2012) but it is still very similar to 40 years ago.

Back then Commonwealth champion Sue Reeve topped the rankings ahead of future Olympic medallist Susan Hearnshaw, who is now in the top 10 W55s in 2018.

            10th       30th
1978     6.13      5.83
1988     6.13      5.87
1998     6.16      5.82
2008     6.18      5.84
2017     6.16      5.91
2018     6.38      5.95

Triple jump

Up front Naomi Ogbeta went over 14 metres and behind the depth was encouraging with 10th going over 13 metres for the first time and the depth behind impressive too in yet another newish women’s event.

However, it was in 1998 when Ashia Hansen leapt the still furthest ever by a Briton – an indoor 15.16m.

The depth is much better now as only three bettered 13 metres to 2018’s 10 and the 14th best this year surpasses 1998’s fourth.

           10th       30th
1978     –
1988     –
1998     12.44    11.46
2008     12.86    12.08
2017     12.96    12.05
2018     13.02    12.08

Shot

The depth is up on last year’s particularly poor levels but the encouraging aspect of 2018 was four easily bettered 17 metres.

Britain’s best ever shot exponent Judy Oakes was top in 1978 with a modest 16.74m, set indoors as a teenager, though 10th was comparable to this year.

Oakes threw an extraordinary 19.36m in 1988, which still stands as the British record, and she had 20 marks over 18 metres and Myrtle Augee bettered it three times. Oakes (18.83m) and Augee (17.69m) were still top in 1998.

            10th       30th
1978     14.23    12.28
1988     14.45    13.02
1998     14.68    13.07
2008     14.39    12.63
2017     14.08    12.65
2018     14.20    12.87

Discus

This is an event that while again dominated by Jade Lally, has not shown any significant improvement in 30 years in terms of depth. However, the top three this year threw further than Venissa Head did in 1988.

Oakes was not just good at the shot as she ranked in the top 30 in 1978, 1988 and 1998 even though she has just a single discus throw listed on Power of 10.

             10th       30th
1978     45.76    40.20
1988     49.34    43.24
1998     47.96    42.59
2008     45.39    41.65
2017     47.22    42.59
2018     47.19    42.03

Hammer

While Olympic medallist Sophie Hitchon is way out on her own – by almost 10 metres – the depth behind is good with 10 at 60 metres and three more on 59 and the 50th best at 48.89m is a new record even though 30th is slightly down on last year.

This is another newish event that has potential to grow further.

            10th       30th
1978     –
1988     –
1998     50.35    44.43
2008     55.45    47.56
2017     59.76    53.55
2018     60.24    53.51

Javelin

It is unfair to compare the first three below to now as the new specifications came in in 1999.

However, the 10th best mark at 45.03m is a new all-time low and it is not much better at 30th and the standards are worrying.

Back in 1978, Tessa Sanderson topped the lists with 64.00m from junior Fatima Whitbread (53.88m)

In 1988 with both global champions, Sanderson (71.70) had advanced but not as much as Whitbread (70.32m) who took Olympic silver as Sanderson failed to make the final in her Olympic defence.

             10th       30th
1978     50.20    42.10
1988     50.58    44.12
1998     50.34    43.87
2008     46.27    42.62
2017     47.68    42.00
2018     45.03    41.61

Heptathlon

There has not been a great advance but 10th at 5381 points is a best ever and there are 14 under-23s or under-20s in the top 19.

Up front Katarina Johnson-Thompson advanced to 6759 and her natural successor is surely world under-20 champion Niamh Emerson who was second with 6253.

The pentathlon was still the main multi event in 1978 and in 1988 no one bettered 6000 points.

By 1998, Denise Lewis was nearing her prime with 6559 and further back in the top 10 Julia Bennett (5604) and Diana Bennett (5555) are now all over the masters rankings in a number of events.

In 2008, Jessica Ennis was injured as Kelly Sotherton (6517) topped the rankings with under-17 Johnson-Thompson seventh (5343), one place up on European 400m hurdles medallist Meghan Beesley (5291), while world long jump leader this year Lorraine Ugen was 30th (4307).

            10th       30th
1978     4407     –
1988     5174     4310
1998     5358     4309
2008     5154     4307
2017     5344     4590
2018    5381    4421

» See the current 112-page double issue of AW for more end-of-year statistics

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