Katarina Johnson-Thompson is Britain’s sole top world-ranked athlete this year
A total of seven British athletes feature in the top five in their respective events in the 2014 world merit rankings.
According to statistics published in the latest edition of Athletics Weekly magazine, seven Britons were ranked in the top five on merit this year, compared to five in 2013, eight in 2011 and 10 in 2012.
Like last year, 13 British athletes feature in the top 10 in their events. Although this is down on the 17 athletes in 2012, the figure of the past two years is up considerably from 2006 when only six British athletes made the world top 10 in their event.
The December 18 edition of AW is a bumper 116-page double issue special featuring statistics which have been provided by British rankings website Power of 10 (UK rankings) and tilastopaja.org (world rankings).
It is the rankings based on “merit” which provide particularly interesting reading, though. Based on season’s bests, championships and head-to-heads, these rankings are meticulously prepared by Peter Matthews and Mel Watman from Athletics International and vary considerably from the “normal” rankings.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson is Britain’s sole top world-ranked athlete this year according to the merit lists. Despite having competed in only one heptathlon, with injury ruling her out of the Commonwealth Games and the European Championships, Johnson-Thompson scored 6682 points to win in Götzis and the panellists voted 5-3 for her against Canada’s Commonwealth champion Brianne Theisen-Eaton for the top spot.
Johnson-Thompson is also in the top 10 for long jump at seventh, one spot ahead of Shara Proctor.
Two British athletes ranked second in the world in their events. Greg Rutherford, who won Commonwealth and European long jump gold to go with his Olympic title from 2012 and leapt a British record and world lead, features behind USA’s Jeff Henderson. European 400m hurdles champion Eilidh Child, who also won Commonwealth silver, is ranked behind Jamaica’s Kaliese Spencer.
European 100m champion James Dasaolu ranks fourth in that event, while there are fifth-place rankings for European and Commonwealth 200m silver medallist Jodie Williams, European and Commonwealth 800m runner-up Lynsey Sharp and European 100m hurdles champion Tiffany Porter.
Among the British athletes in the top 10 in their events is European 200m champion and Commonwealth 100m silver medallist Adam Gemili, who appears twice, placing seventh in the 200m and eighth in the 100m.
Top-ranked in both of those events is US sprinter Justin Gatlin following his unbeaten season. Topping the women’s lists in those events is Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown for the 100m and USA’s Allyson Felix for 200m.
The latest edition of AW also includes UK merit rankings, compiled by Matthews. Mo Farah tops these rankings in the 5000m, 10,000m, 10 miles – half marathon and marathon, while Jo Pavey leads the women’s for 5000m and 10,000m. Over in the sprints, Dwain Chambers extends his record span of ranking in the 100m to 18 years. This year he is fifth in an event list topped by James Dasaolu.
» The world and UK merit rankings are prepared by Peter Matthews and Mel Watman from Athletics International, with the world rankings selection panel consisting of Matthews and Watman, along 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). Marks made indoors were not considered (apart from when part of outdoor meetings, such as the Zürich shot or events moved indoors due to the weather), nor were any athletes who were suspended for two years during the year for drug-related offences. For more information on receiving the Athletics International newsletter email firstname.lastname@example.org