OUR 24-MEMBER international voting panel had no trouble in finding 400H WR setter Dalilah Muhammad its 2019 winner as Women’s Performance Of The Year.
The 16 different performances which received recognition in our 5-4-3-2-1 scoring system (WR = World Record; WL = yearly World Leader):
1. Dalilah Muhammad’s 52.16 WR, 92 points (11 No. 1s)
There were certainly expectations that the women’s 400H WR would fall in ’19, but the favorite to turn that trick was Sydney McLaughlin. The youngster indeed ran faster than what the WR was at the year’s start, but by then Muhammad had twice broken it. The second of them came in winning World Champs gold, snipping 0.04 off her first WR, set at USATF.
2. Salwa Eid Naser’s 48.14 WL, 73 (3)
When Naser became member No. 11 of the sub-49 club she did it in huge fashion, her 48.14 chopping almost a full second off her PR 49.08. The 48.14 trails only two other performances on the all-time list as she threatens to join Marita Koch & Jarmila Kratochvílová in the truly exclusive sub-48 club.
3. Brigid Kosgei’s 2:14:04 WR, 69 (7)
The Kenyan’s score (and place) would undoubtedly have been higher if it hadn’t been for the perception of aid from her next-gen high tech shoes, as the marathon WR setter was left completely off the ballot by 5 of our voters. Her 2:14:04 absolutely crushed Paula Radcliffe’s old standard of 2:15:25. And destroyed her previous PR of 2:18:20.
4. Sifan Hassan’s 3:51.95 WL, 35 (1)
In this day and age, fast 1500s are generally expected to come in rabbited races on the invitational circuit. Championship races are supposed to be sit-and-kick affairs. Hassan got the memo, but halfway through the first lap in Doha ripped it up, setting off at a ferocious pace. She never relented and crossed the line with the No. 2 time ever.
5. Muhammad’s 52.20 WR, 28 (1)
How, you might ask, does somebody have a performance get a vote for No. 1 when they ran faster than that later in the season? The thinking behind that is that it’s tougher to break somebody else’s WR than your own. Whether that’s true or not, Muhammad’s time at USATF ended Yuliya Pechonkina’s 16-year reign as the fastest ever.
6. Yulimar Rojas’s 50-6¾/15.41 WL, 17 (1)
7. Hassan’s 4:12.33 WR, 13
8. Sydney McLaughlin’s 52.23 under old WR, 10
9. tie, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s 10.71 WL, Hassan’s negative-split WC 10K, Katarina Johnson-Thompson’s 6981 WL & Malaika Mihambo’s 23-11½/7.30 WL, 3
13. Anzhelika Sidorova’s 16-2¾/4.95 WL, 2
14. tie, Nia Ali’s 12.34 WC win, DeAnna Price’s 254-5/77.54 WC win & Sha’Carri Richardson’s 10.75 NCAA win, 1. □