Athlete form through 2016 has been assessed by an international panel of experts to create rankings based on merit

For the 18th year, Athletics International has collaborated with Athletics Weekly to produce an annual statistical review including world top-10 merit rankings

Compiled by an international panel of experts, the rankings will no doubt provoke discussion.

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

This year the Olympic Games provided the main focus followed for most events by the Diamond League (DL) and World Challenge meetings. As ever, the panel was concerned with the quality of athletes’ best marks, their consistency, and win-loss records against other ranked competitors.

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 the women’s are here. The full top-10 list for every event, including details of the athletes’ seasons, appear in the December 15 bumper 112-page end-of-year stats special, which is available to buy and read digitally here.

100m
1 Usain Bolt (JAM)
2 Justin Gatlin (USA)
3 Yohan Blake (JAM)

200m
1 Usain Bolt (JAM)
2 Andre de Grasse (CAN)
3 LaShawn Merritt (USA)

400m
1 Wayde van Niekerk (RSA)
2 Kirani James (GRN)
3 LaShawn Merritt (USA)

800m
1 David Rudisha (KEN)
2 Taoufik Makhloufi (ALG)
3 Ferguson Rotich Cheruiyot (KEN)

1500m
1 Asbel Kiprop (KEN)
2 Abdelaati Iguider (MAR)
3 Taoufik Makhloufi (ALG)

5000m
1 Mo Farah (GBR)
2 Hagos Gebrhiwet (ETH)
3= Paul Chelimo (USA)
3= Muktar Edris (ETH)

10,000m
1 Mo Farah (GBR)
2 Paul Tanui (KEN)
3 Tamirat Tola (ETH)

Marathon
1 Eliud Kipchoge (KEN)
2 Kenenisa Bekele (ETH)
3 Feyisa Lilesa (ETH)

3000m steeplechase
1 Conseslus Kipruto (KEN)
2 Evan Jager (USA)
3 Jarius Birech (KEN)

110m hurdles
1 Omar McLeod (JAM)
2 Orlando Ortega (ESP)
3 Dmitri Bascou (FRA)

400m hurdles
1 Kerron Clement (USA)
2 Yasmani Copello (TUR)
3 Boniface Muchuru Tumuti (KEN)

High jump
1 Mutaz Essa Barshim (QAT)
2 Derek Drouin (CAN)
3 Bohdan Bondarenko (UKR)

Pole vault
1 Renaud Lavillenie (FRA)
2 Thiago Braz da Silva (BRA)
3 Sam Kendricks (USA)

Long jump
1 Greg Rutherford (GBR)
2 Jeffrey Henderson (USA)
3= Luvo Manyonga (RSA)
3= Rushwal Samaai (RSA)

Triple jump
1 Christian Taylor (USA)
2 Will Claye (USA)
3 Dong Bin (CHN)

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

Discus
1 Piotr Malachowski (POL)
2 Christoph Harting (GER)
3 Lukas Weisshaidinger (AUT)

Hammer
1 Pawel Fajdek (POL)
2 Dilshod Nazarov (TJK)
3 Ivan Tikhon (BLR)

Javelin
1 Thomas Röhler (GER)
2 Julius Yego (KEN)
3= Johannes Vetter (GER)
3= Keshorn Walcott (TTO)

Decathlon
1 Ashton Eaton (USA)
2 Kevin Mayer (FRA)
3 Damian Warner (CAN)

20km walk
1 Wang Zhen (CHN)
2 Cai Zelin (CHN)
3 Dane Bird-Smith (AUS)

50km walk
1 Matej Tóth (SVK)
2 Jared Tallent (AUS)
3 Hiroki Arai (JPN)

» For the full top-10 list for every event, including details of athletes’ seasons, see the December 15 stats special edition of Athletics Weekly, which is available to buy and read digitally here

» Peter Matthews and Mel Watman are joint editors of Athletics International. For more information on receiving the Athletics International newsletter email mel@gardencourt.fsnet.co.uk