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  • #16
    Various issues with the proposed system have been raised. So, it saves me writing a long, long essay! Instead I'll expand on one of the points and also introduce another issue that hasn't been mentioned.

    Yes, there is a postcode lottery aspect to it. Are you lucky enough to live in a country that hosts a Diamond League meeting where the meeting director can reserve a lane for you even though you're not of the usual Diamond League standard? Or, are you unlucky enough to live somewhere like India where the placing points on offer are very small, there's no World Challenge meetings anywhere near you that could really help push you into the top 48, and you can't afford to fly to one because you attract little or no sponsorship and you have to work just to make ends meet (meeting directors below the DL level usually cap the expenses you can claim for travel)?

    The effects of where you live, how much funding you have etc really need to be minimised by significantly reducing the disparity in the points available at the different levels of meetings.

    I also wonder what effect it will have on the tons of good little meetings that aren't European permit meetings, e.g., several of the meetings in Belgium such as Ninove, several of those in Germany such as Weinheim etc etc. These are meetings that attract a lot of good international athletes (many of those who will be "on the cusp" in the new system) & where athletes often get qualifying standards. But, will some of these meetings suffer or even fall by the wayside as athletes ditch them in favour of the bigger points they can get for similar performances in meetings such as those in Prague, Marseille & Padova? 15 or 20 points difference averaged over 5 performances might not seem much but it could be the difference between making the top 48 in the rankings or not.
    The solution might seem easy ... get your meeting a European permit. However, with that you have to significantly increase prize money. How do you cover that? Increase the ticket prices? That's a risk. Search for more sponsorship? But, what if you've already exhausted the sponsorship opportunities available?

    Finally, will this new system meet the stated aims to "help athletes and fans better compete and follow the sport they love" and "allow athletes, media & fans to follow a logical season-long path to the pinnacle of athletics' top two competitions"?
    I can't see how it will. Those athletes who are on the cusp of qualifying won't know where they stand. Athletics is not like other sports such as tennis or golf where the competition schedules of your competitors are known and publicised. Similarly, under the qualifying standards system, fans and commentators informing those fans knew what athletes had to achieve to "book their seat on the plane". It was simple, get top 2/3 at the trials and get the mark and you're in. However, under the rankings system, regarding those athletes ranked up to 10 or 15 places either side of the cut-off point it's just a big complicated mess that few fans will have the patience to grapple with and that no commentator will be able to enlighten us much on.

    Edit:
    To further complicate the rankings system, I've just remembered that there's the element of ranking points gradually degrading (when the performance was 9 months ago or more) - see Para 2.3.3 of https://worldrankings-staging.aws.ia...k-field-events

    Whilst in principle that's not a bad idea, it just actually serves to complicate the situation even further for athletes, media & fans. Yes, an individual athlete on the cusp will be able to foresee their own points reducing but what about also following that for the 20 or 30 other athletes in and around the cusp of the top 48 for their event?! Will coaches also need to take courses in using spreadsheets?
    Last edited by LuckySpikes; 12-11-18, 14:32.

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    • #17
      Very pro the rankings. To my mind, as a spectator rather than a participant, athletics is held back by the obsession with PBs and SBs and has so much more to offer in terms of understanding and appreciating performance. Rankings will help Athletics get into the 21st century where the public have an appetite for sporting complication and debate. Some sports eg cricket, golf, F1 (arguably data and complication is all it has going for it), American football, increasingly football itself.....are awash with data and analysis.

      The objections here seem so negative and nit picking to me when qualifications are often achieved through unrepresentative form, never to be repeated. If the best athletes are to be admitted to Championships then these rankings are a better method of picking them than any of the present methods because they take consistency, context, conditions etc into account. I realise that the old mindset is to let the vagaries of competition play out in one-off trials but those are far more a case of rough justice than a few points here and there on a rankings scale.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Laps View Post
        Very pro the rankings. To my mind, as a spectator rather than a participant, athletics is held back by the obsession with PBs and SBs and has so much more to offer in terms of understanding and appreciating performance. Rankings will help Athletics get into the 21st century where the public have an appetite for sporting complication and debate. Some sports eg cricket, golf, F1 (arguably data and complication is all it has going for it), American football, increasingly football itself.....are awash with data and analysis.

        The objections here seem so negative and nit picking to me when qualifications are often achieved through unrepresentative form, never to be repeated. If the best athletes are to be admitted to Championships then these rankings are a better method of picking them than any of the present methods because they take consistency, context, conditions etc into account. I realise that the old mindset is to let the vagaries of competition play out in one-off trials but those are far more a case of rough justice than a few points here and there on a rankings scale.
        I wouldn't say, "qualifications are OFTEN achieved through unrepresentative form, never to be repeated." There's not an epidemic of athletes at major championships who shouldn't be there. Yes, you get the odd freak result from places like Chaux-le-Fonds (but it should also be noted that many of the fast times set there are by athletes who already have the championship qualifying standard). So, wouldn't a much simpler (and fairer?) method be to require that, for all events, you need to get the standard twice, at least once at an altitude less than say, 250m?

        I see what you're saying about data and yes, if people start to treat the rankings as Merit rankings, they will generate talking points (whether they should be interpreted as Merit rankings that are fair/accurate is another discussion). However, I don't believe it's nit-picking to point out the patently obvious flaws in the system that threaten to make it an unfair system of championship qualifying for a good number of athletes.

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        • #19
          A good example of how rankings like this can evolve and improve is golf. I remember in the1980s they were sponsored by Sony and were often called the 'phoney' world rankings because they were widely considered to be a poor measure of players and their relative achievements. I don't know the details but it is quite clear that they have been greatly improved as nowadays the media mentions a player's ranking almost as readily as they do in tennis.

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          • #20
            I'm with the optimists. It can work, it probably will have some flaws in the outset, but the overall aim is solid and it works for other sports. Sports like tennis show how some individual's activities skew the tables (e.g. Williams sisters who only turn up to grand slams, ranked XX in the world but arriving as clear favourites for example).

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            • #21
              Yes you are right Lucky " never to be repeated." was a poor choice of words. However there is plenty of 'unrepresentative' form lying about. Form that athletes cannot repeat or get close to when the competition is tough. The Richard Kilty at Hexham type of thing. The rankings seek an element of consistency and reward performance at higher levels of competition. A better basis for comparing athletes. That's what I meant.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Laps View Post
                Yes you are right Lucky " never to be repeated." was a poor choice of words. However there is plenty of 'unrepresentative' form lying about. Form that athletes cannot repeat or get close to when the competition is tough. The Richard Kilty at Hexham type of thing. The rankings seek an element of consistency and reward performance at higher levels of competition. A better basis for comparing athletes. That's what I meant.
                I accept there are some performances that are outliers but in the grand scheme of things I don't think there's enough of them to justify bringing in a rankings system that could severely disadvantage a good number of athletes who are on the margin of qualifying for championships. In Kilty's case he didn't make team in that year anyway because British sprinting is so competitive, so sometimes these things have a way of "working themselves out".

                My issue is not with how the top 10 rankings will pan out (e.g., whether Sifan Hassan should be placed higher etc) but rather with how differences in opportunities will adversely affect some of those 20 or 30 athletes in each event who will be battling to make the top 48 or to stay in the top 48 to qualify for championships. Around that region the difference in ranking points is so small that just one opportunity to get in a Diamond League or World Challenge meeting could provide a big boost to your ranking at the expense of other athletes who don't have that chance because of geographical/financial or other reasons. I think this group of athletes who will be disadvantaged is larger than some people might think.

                Yes, I agree that you want to reward performance at the highest levels but, as it stands, the placing points awarded at the highest levels seem too high with the consequence that good performances (and consistency) at lower level meetings is not rewarded enough. The difference in placing points between the different levels could do with being halved I think.
                Hopefully the extended consultation period can iron that out.

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                • #23
                  Agree, its definitely those on the cusp of selection that it will be an issue for. I can see the twitter outputs now "I'm currently ranked 49th and I can't afford to travel to Bulgaria for the next competition where I can score enough points to get selected" etc. Opportunity for competition will need to be well managed, but also well planned by the individual athletes. It could well add some much needed structure, but will also challenge those who prefer to compete infrequently, perhaps especially those who are fragile in terms of injury etc. But at the very least it adds a new dimension, and that's not a bad thing.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by LuckySpikes View Post

                    I accept there are some performances that are outliers but in the grand scheme of things I don't think there's enough of them to justify bringing in a rankings system that could severely disadvantage a good number of athletes who are on the margin of qualifying for championships. In Kilty's case he didn't make team in that year anyway because British sprinting is so competitive, so sometimes these things have a way of "working themselves out".

                    My issue is not with how the top 10 rankings will pan out (e.g., whether Sifan Hassan should be placed higher etc) but rather with how differences in opportunities will adversely affect some of those 20 or 30 athletes in each event who will be battling to make the top 48 or to stay in the top 48 to qualify for championships. Around that region the difference in ranking points is so small that just one opportunity to get in a Diamond League or World Challenge meeting could provide a big boost to your ranking at the expense of other athletes who don't have that chance because of geographical/financial or other reasons. I think this group of athletes who will be disadvantaged is larger than some people might think.

                    Yes, I agree that you want to reward performance at the highest levels but, as it stands, the placing points awarded at the highest levels seem too high with the consequence that good performances (and consistency) at lower level meetings is not rewarded enough. The difference in placing points between the different levels could do with being halved I think.
                    Hopefully the extended consultation period can iron that out.
                    I think some strong and valid points for and against the qualification Standards and Rankings systems have been addressed by both Laps and Lucky. No system is going to satisfy all and each method contains flaws which can and should be tweaked to improve matters.
                    I agree with Lucky on the Placings points differentials being too excessive, but also think that Laps point about the consistency aspect of average of 5 is valid, but maybe average of 5 efforts is too high; perhaps 3 or 4 is enough.
                    I reckon that there will be an improved qualifying system in place which will be largely accepted in the next few years.
                    I would avoid comparisons with Tennis or Golf which do not consist of over 40 different events ; our sport attracts athletes from at least 30 countries and golf and tennis are still largely money driven middle class sports with contenders from a lesser number of places around the globe .

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by LuckySpikes View Post

                      I accept there are some performances that are outliers but in the grand scheme of things I don't think there's enough of them to justify bringing in a rankings system that could severely disadvantage a good number of athletes who are on the margin of qualifying for championships. In Kilty's case he didn't make team in that year anyway because British sprinting is so competitive, so sometimes these things have a way of "working themselves out".

                      My issue is not with how the top 10 rankings will pan out (e.g., whether Sifan Hassan should be placed higher etc) but rather with how differences in opportunities will adversely affect some of those 20 or 30 athletes in each event who will be battling to make the top 48 or to stay in the top 48 to qualify for championships. Around that region the difference in ranking points is so small that just one opportunity to get in a Diamond League or World Challenge meeting could provide a big boost to your ranking at the expense of other athletes who don't have that chance because of geographical/financial or other reasons. I think this group of athletes who will be disadvantaged is larger than some people might think.

                      Yes, I agree that you want to reward performance at the highest levels but, as it stands, the placing points awarded at the highest levels seem too high with the consequence that good performances (and consistency) at lower level meetings is not rewarded enough. The difference in placing points between the different levels could do with being halved I think.
                      Hopefully the extended consultation period can iron that out.
                      Lucky
                      You glibly dismiss the argument in favour of the more reliable assessment of ability represented by the rankings - 5 results for most events, adjustment for conditions, preference for tougher competition in higher grade meetings - calling the several different types of unreliable form that there are, 'outliers'. Before glibly dismissing outliers. Then you pontificate on a group of athletes you believe will be disadvantaged without putting forward any evidence to back up that opinion. Well my opinion is that the lesser placings at Diamond League meetings will have little effect on rankings once the system has been in place for a while and that athletes will adjust to the need to compete more frequently and effectively to look after their ranking.

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                      • #26
                        I'm not doing anything glibly. Does it not stand to reason that some athletes will have more opportunities to compete in high-level meetings (e.g., World Challenge meetings) because of finances/geography etc than some other athletes of a similar level? I gave an example of an Indian athlete earlier - I hope you'd agree it's not an an unrealistic scenario that could be repeated in many locations (e.g., Africa has lost its only World Challenge meeting in Dakar). It's all very well saying athletes will need to compete "more frequently and effectively" but how would such an athlete just magic money out of the air to get to these meetings that have more points on offer?

                        What I haven't seen yet is a list of athletes from say the last 2 World Championships who didn't deserve to be there because they had one outlying performance inside the standard but weren't consistent (ignoring any athletes who were there as the one athlete for a country with no athletes meeting any of the standards). If that list was extensive I might be a little more convinced by the need for the new qualification system.

                        As I said before, I believe the differentials in Placing Points between the top meetings and the smaller meetings (including some quality meetings in Europe) is way too big. If you halve those points differentials the system would become much fairer regarding qualifying for championships and also be a more effective way of ranking athletes by merit.
                        Last edited by LuckySpikes; 13-11-18, 18:22.

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                        • #27
                          [QUOTE=LuckySpikes;n235]I'm not doing anything glibly. Does it not stand to reason that some athletes will have more opportunities to compete in high-level meetings (e.g., World Challenge meetings) because of finances/geography etc than some other athletes of a similar level? I gave an example of an Indian athlete earlier - I hope you'd agree it's not an an unrealistic scenario that could be repeated in many locations (e.g., Africa has lost its only World Challenge meeting in Dakar). It's all very well saying athletes will need to compete "more frequently and effectively" but how would such an athlete just magic money out of the air to get to these meetings that have more points on offer?
                          QUOTE]

                          They would do what all sportspeople from poor countries with inadequate competition and poor facilities, including themselves, do now.

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                          • #28
                            Pablo Ortiz from the IAAF started this thread on LetsRun - http://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_re...thread=9118653
                            It starts off talking about what the rankings will mean for road racing but then the discussion broadens out to all events.

                            It emerges further on in the thread (3 pages so far) that the IAAF is changing the window for rankings performances from 1 year to 2 years for all events, with performances older than 1 year being degraded gradually (the window for longer distances & combined events was previously proposed to be 18 months).

                            There is an email address where you can send feedback, suggestions and complaints about the proposed system - [email protected]

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                            • #29
                              I've long been of the opinion that there need to be more decent 2nd or 3rd division level meets . The diamond league seems to have had a very negative impact on Britain. Outside of the sterling development work done by the BMC there seems to be no kind of international meets in this country, and nothing at all in Wales and Scotland. What effect would this ranking system have on meets like the Cork City Sports and the Morton Games? The opportunities for Irish athletes, for example, to compete on the Diamond League are virtually non-existant, but some very good times have been run in Dublin these last few years. What impact will this have on distance running in general? In the Diamond League these events are dominated by agency groups of east Africans, which is another issue I have with the diamond League. The distance events feel sometimes like they are being dominated by boxing style cartels, where an unknown teenager, who in many cases has disappeared from the sport entirely within a few years, can get a lane in spite of only having ran a few local races back in his or her country. The opportunities for American and European distance runners to get into these races is very limited, and next to non existent for Japanese runners. Surely this would also have the knock on effect of rendering national competitons irrelevant. What will it do to the exciting American first past the post system?

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                              • #30
                                Ah, I've just discovered that this won't effect national competions. Should have read that let'srun thread before posting! Someone on there makes the excellent point that this seems to be a solution looking for a problem. The current qualification system is just fine, and has nothing to do with why Birmingham, London and Rome are struggling to attract spectators. The night of the pbs at highbury has shown how new ideas can be hugely succesful without reinventing the wheel. The usatf road running circuit is another ( how I wish there was a european equivilant!). No less than the great Renato Canova has pointed out the closed shop nature of the Diamond League on that thread. We face many problems in our sport, but how to qualify is not one of them. Stop putting on bloated events in white elephant super stadiums with no atmosphere for a start. How about Morton Games standard events at Gateshead, Cwmbran and Scotsoun? The Italians would be better off scrapping their Diamond Lague event entirely and concentrate on buliding up Rietti and Padova meets instead.

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