Jamaica Gleaner / Jamaica’s Omar McLeod and Elaine Thompson both appear in a prominent listing of the world’s top 10 athletes, male and female, respectively, for 2017.
McLeod, world champion in the 110 metre hurdles, is the ninth-ranked man in the eyes of the respected US publication Track and Field News, while Thompson, the world’s top female sprinter, appears at number 10. In addition, McLeod’s national record run of 12.90 seconds was voted among the 10 best performances of the year across all events.
Based on voting by a 37-member panel of international experts, the annual Track and Field News world rankings gave the top spot to Qatari high jumper Muta Essar Barsham, with American pole vaulter Sam Kendricks second. The South African pair of long jumper Luvo Manyonga and sprinter Wayde van Niekerk, American triple jump king Christian Taylor, hammer thrower Pawel Fajdek of Poland, British long distance maestro Mo Farah, and marathoner Eliud Kipchoge are also ahead of McLeod.
On the women’s side, Polland’s dominating hammer thrower, Anita Wlodarczyk, reigned supreme for the second year in a row. Russian high jumper Mariya Lasitskene was voted into the runner-up spot.
Thompson, who had the fastest two 100-metre times of the season at 10.71 and 10.78 seconds, is the only woman in the elite group who did not win her event at the World Championships in London.
The women’s top ten: Wlodarczyk, Lasitskene, Greek pole vaulter Katerini Stefanidi, heptathlon queen Nafi Thiam of Belgium, Kenyan distance powerhouse Helen Obiri, South Africa’s 800m dominator Caster Semenya, discus ace Sandra Perkovic of Croatia, 1500m gem Faith Kipyegon of Kenya, 10,000m ruler Almaz Ayanna of Ethiopia and Thompson.
In addition to giving McLeod ninth position on the men’s top 10, the Track and Field News panel showed high regard for the clocking that the Jamaican used to win his National Championships in June. A monster javelin mark of 94.44 metres by Germany’s Johannes Vetter was adjudged to be the performance of the year, with McLeod’s 12.90 sharing eighth place with a fast marathon – 2 hours 03 minutes and 32 seconds – by Kipchoge and another huge javelin mark, 93.30 metres, with Vetter’s compatriot Thomas Roller.
The rankings appeared on the publication’s website earlier this week.