Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Alan Webb Still Not Ranked by IAAF

The latest world rankings have been published by the IAAF and Alan Webb has still not been ranked among the world's top 50 men in the 1500m/Mile. In fact, he's still not even ranked in the top 100!

You might recall that I tried to decipher their convoluted scoring system a couple of weeks ago. Like I said back then, if a man runs the fastest time in the world in an event, he ought to be ranked among the world's best in that event. At least he ought to crack the top 100, don't you think?!

Perhaps the IAAF officials over in Monaco have overlooked Webb's outstanding performance at the Drake Relays on April 28th. No, that's not it. The IAAF's website does have him listed as the miler with the fastest time in the world this year. In fact, his time is nearly 6 seconds faster than the 2nd best time in the world this year! Webb also has the 3rd fastest time in the world this year.

I dug a little deeper into the files (zipped txt or pdf files) the IAAF has available for download on their website. Of the 9 fastest milers in the world this year, only two have made the top 100 rankings in the 1500m/Mile: Andrew Baddeley of Great Britain and Rob Myers of the USA. Congratulations, guys, but would either of you rank yourself higher than Alan Webb in the mile right now? I doubt it. Maybe you'll be able to later on this year, eh?

Track and Field is not a difficult sport to understand. In order to determine the best athlete, you stage a competition called a track meet. The athlete who runs or hurdles the fastest, jumps or vaults the highest or longest, or throws the farthest wins the event and is considered to be the best athlete. If there is more than one competition, you compare the fastest time from one competition to the fastest time from the other competition. Simple as that.

IMHO the rules that determine the world rankings are fundamentally flawed and don't serve any purpose other than to keep a team of statisticians gainfully employed. Or maybe I'm just dim-witted. If I am, maybe somebody who is brighter than me can explain what purpose these rankings serve.

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