Levern Spencer makes top five in inaugural world rankings

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Levern Spencer makes top five in inaugural world rankings
Levern Donaline Spencer
Levern Donaline Spencer

(SNO) — The IAAF, the world governing body for track and field and athletics, recently launched its new official world rankings system, designed to provide a more effective way of identifying the top athletes in each discipline by rewarding consistency and competition among the world’s best.

Athletes’ positions in the IAAF world rankings will be based upon the points they score, determined by their performance and place, and the importance of the competition in which those results are achieved to the IAAF global calendar. Only those Performance Scores are considered, which were obtained by the athlete in a 12 months or 18 months period prior to the date of the Rankings, depending on the Event Group the athlete is ranked in.

Five Saint Lucians have been included in the inaugural rankings. It will surprise no one that Levern Spencer is the top-ranked Saint Lucian athlete. She was ranked as the fifth best high jumper in the world during the ranking period, and the top competitor in her event in the Americas. The reigning NACAC, CAC, Pan Am Games, and Commonwealth Games champion, Spencer’s best performance scores came at the NACAC Championships (1301) and IAAF Continental Cup (1300). Her scores averaged 1278.

Meanwhile, Jeanelle Scheper averaged 1098, and she is ranked 52nd in the world, ninth in the Americas. Scheper’s notable performances included a fifth place at the Liège Meeting Internationale de la Province de Liège (1117 points), gold at the Athens Torrin Lawrence Memorial (1106), and sixth at the Drake Relays (1102).

Also making the list is Martinique-based long jumper and triple jumper, Sandisha Antoine. Antoine is ranked 138th in the world for long jump, despite a light competition schedule. She was sixth at the CAC Games (1074), but won the French Elite Championships in May (1049). Her average performance score was 1055.

Teenaged sprinter Julien Alfred came in at 421st for the 100m. Averaging out at 1049 points, her accomplishments for 2018 included a bronze medal at Boys and Girls Champs in Jamaica (1028), fifth at the CARIFTA Games (1028), and silver at the Youth Olympic Games (1166).

The only ranked male athlete from Saint Lucia is javelin thrower Albert Reynolds, placed 96th in the world. The French Elite champion (1046), he made the finals at the CAC Games and Commonwealth Games, but did not throw up to his high standards for much of the year. His average performance score was 1026.

According to the IAAF, the new world rankings will bring clarity to the competition structure from national through to global events, incentivising the top athletes to support the best competitions.

“For the first time in the sport’s history, athletes, media and fans will have a clear understanding of the hierarchy of competitions from national through to area and up to global events, allowing them to follow a logical season-long path to the pinnacle of athletics’ top two competitions,” said IAAF President Sebastian Coe. “The IAAF world rankings will drive and shape the global competition system including entry into future major championships and enable everyone in and interested in our sport to know who is No.1 in the world.”

The basis for the ranking method has been developed with Elite Ltd (All-Athletics) whose founder, Dr. Bojidar Spiriev, developed a first set of rankings already back in 1979. The calculation mechanism, as well as the different categories of competitions and the placing scores awarded for each category, can be found on the IAAF website.

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