• Kyodo

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Koki Ikeda was named the first 20-km race walk world No. 1 when the International Association of Athletics Federations launched its new official rankings system on Tuesday.

The 20-year-old Ikeda won his spot atop the list after placing in the top-5 in three races since February 2018. He won gold at May’s World Race Walking Team Championships in China and finished second and fourth in two domestic competitions.

The rankings, which will be updated weekly, are determined by the points each athlete earns based on their performances, with the standard of each competition taken into consideration and given weight.

“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,” IAAF President Sebastian Coe said on the federation’s website.

Sprinter Noah Lyles of the United States tops the men’s overall rankings after winning five 200-meter races since May, while Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech, who specializes in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, is the overall women’s world No. 1.

Hirooki Arai, a Rio Olympic bronze medalist and world silver medalist, sits No. 2 in the men’s 50-km race walk rankings led by Ukraine’s Maryan Zakalnytskyy.

At 18th in the world, Ryota Yamagata is the best Japanese sprinter in the high-profile men’s 100 rankings, which are led by American Ronnie Baker. Yoshihide Kiryu, who holds Japan’s national record at 9.98 seconds, sits 25th while Asuka Cambridge, who was a member of Japan’s Rio Olympic silver medal-winning 4×100 team along with Yamagata and Kiryu, is ranked 41st.

According to the federation, the world rankings will not be used for qualification to the Sept. 28-Oct. 6 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

The IAAF will decide at a board meeting in March whether the rankings will be taken into consideration when determining which athletes qualify for next summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

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