Why doesn't the IAAF put the IAAF World Rankings to some more good use and use them as a form of qualifying for the World Champs. For instance as of 3-4 weeks before the World Champs if you are ranked in the top 15 or 20 that would count as the equivalent of a "A" qualifier and get you in the meet. Same idea could apply to "B" qualifiers. Of course this is a baby step towards what I would really love which is a World Championship where "everyone" in the top 15 or 20 in the World Rankings in every event is automatically invited.
The IAAF rankings are so heavily influenced by times and distances that it is hard to imagine that there is an athlete out there who is ranked in the top 15 or 20 in the world and does not have a qualifier.
You may think so, but things of that sort do happen. Two Polish discus throwers, Joanna Wisniewska and Marzena Wysocka, are ranked 10th and 17th in the world, respectively, yet neither of them has the Paris A qualifier. Wisniewska in particular is a regular 61-62 meter thrower, but has not thrown the 63.40 she needs. Some other throwers are much less consistent at this level, but just happened to get a big throw in at some point (usually with the help of a strong wind).
As it happens, the Polish federation uses the IAAF A qualifier as the standard for deciding the WCh team. Thus, is they don't cut Wisniewska a bit of slack, she may not be able to go to Paris, despite being ranked 10th in the world... Alternatively, if she is selected, the world's 17th ranked thrower will miss out.
Actually the discus is probably the best example of several events that are not particularly well suited for a single best performance of the year as the means of qualifying. A number of the field events (long and triple jump quickly come to mind) are poorly suited for this method. Which is exactly why I started this thread to begin with.
A while back someone at T&FN called the IAAF's world rankings "politically biased" or somethig like that. I've carefully looked at how the numbers are put together, and the only way I can interpret that statement is that meets like the World Cup get way more emphasis than they really should. But giving athletes a reason to compete at meets like that isn't really a bad thing.
I see only one problem with using the IAAF's world rankings as qualifiers, and that's the rapidly improving athlete. For example, Ingo Schulz probably didn't show up anywhere on the rankings going into Edmonton, but he won a medal!
>A while back someone at T&FN called the IAAF's
>world rankings "politically biased" or somethig
>like that. I've carefully looked at how the
>numbers are put together, and the only way I can
>interpret that statement is that meets like the
>World Cup get way more emphasis than they really
>should. But giving athletes a reason to compete
>at meets like that isn't really a bad thing.>>
Let me give you an example of how politics skews the IAAF Rankings. Bernard Williams won the USATF 100 (the toughest national championships 100 on the planet) in 10.11. He gets x points for running 10.11, as would anybody else in anyother meet. That's the IAAF's "results score" component. To get the total score that's entered into his Ranking file, he also gets a "placing score" based on the caliber of the meet in which he ran. Unfortunately, this determination is hugely politicized, making all continents/areas equal, and all Nationals equal, which of course they are not.
Here's the categories, and the number of "placing points" you'd get for winning various meets (the strange initials for categories are theirs, not mine):
IAAF World Championships
IAAF World Athletics Final
IAAF World Indoor Championships
IAAF World Cross Country Championships
IAAF Golden League Meetings
IAAF World Cup
IAAF Super Grand Prix Meetings
Continental Indoor Championships
IAAF Grand Prix I Meetings
Asian Games, All-African Games, CAC Championships, South-American Championships
Commonwealth Games, Francophone Games, Ibero-American Championships
Universiade, CISM World Military Games
IAAF Indoor Permit Meetings
European Cup Super League
European 10,000m Challenge
IAAF Grand Prix II Meetings
National Outdoor Championships
Balkan Games, Pan-Arab Games, Mediterranean Games, CAC Games
European Cup 1st League
Continental Permit Indoor Meetings
IAAF World Junior Championships, IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships
Continental Championships for under 23 years
There's also D, E and F. But note that the USATF 100 (or the Kenyan champs steeple, or the Russian champs hammer) is only worth as many points as the Pan-Arab Games, Asian Under-23 Championships, etc., etc. It's only worth 60% of the Ibero-American Games or Francophone Games. Special interest groups are given huge priorities over real meets.
Of course, the idea that you can quanity a whole meet under the same system is ludicrous. With the altitude component, the U.S. steeplechase winner will get as many points as the Kenyan one. The system sorely needs a "who beat whom" component.
Want an even more concrete example of why I don't like the way the IAAF Rankings work? Bet you can't tell me who is currently rated as the No. 2 men's 400 runner in the world. (No. 1 is Michael Blackwood of Jamaica).
He's a guy who has run only one 400 this year, and that's a 49.02 (yes, 49.02, without hurdles). You're all well acquainted w/ Fawzi Al-Shammari of Kuwait, right? He's your man.
Meanwhile, Tyree Washington (U.S. champ indoors and out, world indoor champion) is in No. 5. Oh yeah, those U.S. titles don't count for squat. Oh well.
>The system sorely needs a "who beat whom"
I agree wholeheartedly with this statement. It would seem to me that having a ranking list based on "pure" performance points then having the "bonus" or meet based points based on who you beat on the performance list would be fairly straightforward (not trivial I am sure but certainly possible).
As for my original idea of the IAAF rankings being a supplemental way of qualifying for the World Championships, I think it still works pretty well. In the events that would I believe benefit the most (mainly field events) the current system becomes very much driven by the marks in your best 6 meets over the past year. Since there was no World Champs or Olympic Games last year, those bonus points are not available, ditto for Grand Prix Final and Indoor Champs in several of the field events. Also not that many field events at Golden League Meets. So whatever flaws may exist in awarding the bonus points, I contend it is still much better than deciding everything by an athletes single best performance of a year.