Athletes from all parts of the world performed well across a variety of events in 2019, and we’ve been able to come up with a list of our Top 20 Athletes in the World for the season. Here we go!

  1. Katarina Johnson-Thompson (GBR)
KJT wins the 800m final at the World Championships in a new PB time. Photo Credit: The Guardian

KJT put together her best series in one competition at the 2019 World Championships when she accrued a total of 6981 points, breaking Jessica Ennis-Hill’s National Record (NR) by twenty-six points to win GOLD in Doha. She also moved up to sixth on the Heptathlon all-time list.

  1. Donavan Brazier (USA)
Donavan Brazier after winning the 800m at the World Champs in Doha.

The American 800m runner opened up his season at the Millrose Games with an Area Record (AR) of 1:44.41 indoors. He secured his second US Title, and came from nowhere to peel past Nijel Amos in the Zurich Diamond League (DL) final in a Personal Best (PB) of 1:42.70. He became the first American man to win GOLD in the 800m at the World Championships in a new PB of 1:42.34, which eclipsed the Championship Record (CR) of 1:43.06 set since 1987.

18. Christian Taylor (USA)

Christian Taylor won his fourth World title in Doha.

Christian Taylor landed a seventh DL Trophy, breaking the long-standing Meet Record (MR). At the Worlds, it was a case of the best for the last as he produced jumps of 17.86m and 17.92m to guarantee victory and become the first man to win four World Triple Jump titles.

  1. Sydney McLaughlin (USA)
Sydney McLaughlin wins her 400m Hurdles heat at the 2019 World Championships.

Sydney McLaughlin finished 2nd behind a World Record-setting Dalilah Muhammad at the USATF Championships, and got her revenge back in the Diamond League final where she claimed her first ever trophy. She closed the season with a Silver medal at the World Championships in the 400m Hurdles running the 52.23s, which stands as the second fastest time in the history of the event. McLaughlin also won GOLD in the 4x400m in Doha.

  1. Tajay Gayle (JAM)
Tayjay Gayle became the first Jamaican to win a World title in the Long Jump.

Tajay Gayle, an outside chance for a medal at the Worlds, had qualified 12th after failing to get to the 8.15m automatic qualification distance. In the final however, he launched himself to 8.46m with his first jump and then flew out to 8.69m, surpassing the PBs of every other competitor in the field. The distance was the longest in the world in 10 years and therefore reset the Jamaican NR held by James Beckford at 8.62m.

  1. Tom Walsh (NZL)
Tom Walsh won Bronze at the World Championships in Doha. Photo Credit: AthleticsNZ

Tom Walsh became the first man to win back-to-back Shot Put trophies on the DL circuit, winning the Brussels DL with 22.30m and dominating the competitions he entered for during the season. In Doha, he broke the CR with a 22.90m heave – the fourth best performance of all-time and held the lead until Joe Kovacs stepped up with 22.91m to snatch the lead. Walsh eventually settled for Bronze.

  1. Sam Kendricks (USA)
Sam Kendricks celebrates after winning a second consecutive World Pole Vault title.

One of Sam Kendricks’ achievements in 2019 is clearing as high as 6.06m, a mark with which he won the US title and was elevated to 2nd on the all-time outdoor list for the men’s Pole Vault. Kendricks also defended his World title with a clearance of 5.97m, thereby becoming the second man in history to win more than one World Pole Vault title.

  1. Mariya Lasitskene (ANA)
Mariya Lasitskene was class in the women’s High Jump final at the 2019 World Championships.

Mariya Lasitskene has been the biggest figure in the women’s High Jump for about four years now. Even though as many as four women scaled the 2m height in Doha, the night only belonged to one woman – Lasitskene, who scaled the 2.04m on her first try to successfully defend her title, becoming the first athlete to win three consecutive World titles in the High Jump.

  1. Yulimar Rojas (VEN)
Yulimar was a red hot favourite for the World Triple Jump title in Doha.

About a month to the Worlds in Doha, whilst competing in the city of Andujar, Rojas produced the second farthest jump in the history of the event when she broke sand at 15.41m, just 9cm short of the World Record (WR) set by Inessa Kravets in 1995. In Doha, she reached a huge 15.37m to successfully defend the title she won in London two years ago.

  1. Daniel Stahl (SWE)
Daniel Stahl won his first World Championships GOLD in Doha. Photo Credit: SVD

Daniel Stahl threw an NR of 71.86m in Bottnaryd, Sweden and won the Brussels DL with a throw of 68.68m. After losing the World Championship title in 2017 by just 2cm, he led from start to finish, becoming his country’s first global GOLD medallist in the event with his third-round throw of 67.59m. He also won 13 of his 16 competitions in 2019.

  1. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (JAM)
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce on her way to winning a fourth 100m World Title in Doha.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce finished 2nd in the 100m and 200m at the Jamaican National Trials, and placed 2nd in the DL 100m final. She clocked the fastest time ever in a 100m heat at the Worlds with a time of 10.80s, ran 10.81s in the semis and then sped off to the Women’s 100m title with a World Lead (WL) of  10.71s. At the age of 32, she became the oldest woman to win a World or Olympic 100m title. She also anchored the Jamaican 4x100m team to GOLD!

  1. Joe Kovacs (USA)
Joe Kovacs set the third best mark in history in the Shot Put to win his second World Champs GOLD.

In 2019, Kovacs was 6th, 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively in the DL meetings he competed in, before placing 2nd at the US Nationals.  Trailing both Ryan Crouser (22.90m) and Tomas Walsh (22.90m) at the Worlds, Kovacs whose PB was 22.57m, then heaved his implement to 22.91m to win the World title, with the third best mark in history.

  1. Malaika Mihambo (GER)
Malaika Mihambo wins her first world Long Jump title in Doha. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Heading to the Worlds, Malaika Mihambo had leapt a big PB and WL of 7.16m and was the biggest figure in the women’s Long Jump for the season. It may have been strange to have her down in 7th after her first two tries in Doha, so she took to the runway on her third and landed a huge 7.30m! She shattered her lifetime best by 14cm and was elevated to 11th on the all-time list. It was also the third best jump in the history of the World Athletics Championships.

  1. Karsten Warholm (NOR)
Karsten Warholm became the fourth man to retain a world title over 400m hurdles.

Karsten Warholm had a flawless season overall, claiming DL victories in Stockholm and Oslo while he became the third man to crack the 47-second barrier in the 400m Hurdles at the Zurich DL final in a time of 46.92s. In a battle with Rai Benjamin, his arch-rival for the biggest part of the season, Warholm dug deep to take the GOLD in 47.42s, defeating Benjamin by 0.24s and defending his World title.

  1. Salwa Eid Naser (BRN)
Salwa Eid-Naser ran a breathtaking 400m final to win the world title for the first time in her career.

Salwa Eid Naser won all the 400m finals she competed in before the World Championships, including the DL Final, but on odds, she wasn’t so favoured to win the World title ahead of Shaunae Miller-Uibo. Deploying different tactics, she beat Miller-Uibo on the biggest stage with a PB, NR and AR of 48.14s, which elevated her to third on the all-time list.

  1. Eliud Kipchoge (KEN)
Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge became the first man to run the marathon under 1:59s. Photo Credit: BBC Sports

Eliud Kipchoge came painfully close to breaking the 2-hour barrier in 2017 when he finished a race 25 seconds short in Italy. He set the official WR at the Berlin Marathon in 2018, just 1 minute and 39 seconds over 2 hours. On October 12, Kipchoge finally did it when he completed the INEOS 1:59 Challenge in 1:59:40.2. He therefore became the first human to complete the 42.195km distance in less than 2 hours. He was named the World Male Athlete of the Year for a second time.

  1. Brigid Kosgei (KEN)
Brigid Kosgei wins the 2019 Chicago Marathon. Photo Credit: @BBCSports

Brigid Kosgei only started the marathon in 2015. In 2019, she ran a 5000m PB of 15:13, a 10000m Season’s Best (SB) of 30:22, and surpassed Joyciline Jepkosgei’s World Half Marathon Record with a beautiful 1:04:28 clocking at the 2019 Great North Run. At the Chicago Marathon, the Kenyan completed the course, smashing Paula Radcliffe’s 16-year old WR by a whole 81s as she returned a time of 2:14:04.

  1. Noah Lyles (USA)
Noah Lyles celebrating after winning his first World Championship GOLD in the 200m.

Noah Lyles produced the finest performance of his burgeoning career, a 19.50s run at the Lausanne DL that elevated him to fourth on the all-time 200m list. He also ended his DL season by claiming the 100/200m double, becoming the first man to achieve such a feat. In Doha, he stormed to his first World title in 19.83s. He also anchored Team USA to GOLD in the men’s 4x100m relay.

  1. Sifan Hassan (NED)
Hassan completed an unprecedented 1500/10000m double at the World Athletics Championships in Qatar.

Sifan Hassan entered the 2019 season in startling form, breaking the World 5km Record in Monaco in 14:44. She set a PB and European Record (ER) of 8:18.49 in winning the women’s 3000m at the Prefontaine Classic, shattered Svetlana Masterkova’s 23-year old one-mile WR with a new time of 4:12.33 at the Monaco DL and won the 1500/5000m double in the DL final, returning times of 3:57.08 and 14:26.26 respectively.

At the World Champs, she struck over a second off her 10000m PB in only her second race over the distance to become the World Champion, and then completed a rare double by winning the 1500m title at the same Championships in a PB, NR and CR of 3:51.95 that had her elevated to sixth on the all-time list.

  1. Dalilah Muhammad (USA)
Muhammad set two World Records in the women’s 400mH within one season.

At the USATF Championships, Dalilah Muhammad broke Yuliya Pechonkina’s 400m Hurdles WR when she clocked 52.20s in unfavourable conditions. She finished 3rd in the DL final and then locked horns with Sydney McLaughlin at the Worlds. From those years of experience, she dug deep and held off McLaughlin to produce another WR with a time of 52.16s!

Muhammad also teamed up with Sydney McLaughlin, Wadeline Jonathas and Phyllis Francis in the women’s 4x400m final, running the third leg on the team that won GOLD with a time of 3:18.92. Her achievements in 2019 earned her the World Female Athlete of the Year award.


Oluwadare Popoola
Athletics is a special shade of life for me, and my confidence has received a boost since I started out covering the sport from the stands of my home, and now as a Junior Sportswriter with Making of Champions - an opportunity to get better at what I do.


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