Germans giving new Age-Graded Tables some test runs

Stefan Waltermann at Spokane nationals.

Get ready for a new Age-Graded Tables. As we telegraphed in December, WMA is rolling out a new set of tables that treat some age groups more fairly. The AGT make it possible for multi-eventers to use the IAAF tables to score their events, no matter what their age. The AGT also are widely used to pick winners in road races and whatnot.(Companies like Hy-Tek incorporate the tables into their software.)  But because Germans were the biggest force behind the redo, they are starting to use the new tables this year. Lahti will use the “old” tables, but our correspondent Stefan Waltermann says the new tables should be good to go for 2011 worlds in Sacramento. Why update the tables?  It’s to make scoring and ranking fairer when comparing apples and oranges (different age groups).  Stefan has posted a set of files on his Web site that contain the new AGT data. (Click on Model 2010.)

Here’s a report from Stefan on the new tables:

Today, I received the new point spread for the multi-event calculator. Naturally, I immediately put the tables into a brand new MULTI-EVENT CALCULATOR. For now, I entered just the Decathlon and Outdoor Pentathlon for Men M35 to M95. This is an industry first!

Germany is already starting to put the new age grade tables for the decathlon, hepthathlon and decathlon to use in 2009. The rest of the world, including the US will follow in 2010. Lahti will see the “old” calculations, Sacramento the new! Still, get used to the new tables.

The German Bernd Rehpenning has waged a one man fight for years. He collected more data than the rest of the world combined. Finally, the WMA saw the light. Bernd and  our very own multi-talented Rex Harvey worked to get the job done. It was obvious, the old tables were unfriendly or unfair to older multi-eventers. Comparisons between the running and throwing events led to obvious problems.

Take the M65. The German ranking shows a time of 5:06.96 for the top ranked 1500 M65 runner in Germany. The athlete would get 520 Points in a multi-event like the pentathlon. To get 520 points in a pentathlon, a discus thrower needed 32.79 m, equal to a thrower ranked number 70 in Germany in 2008!

Another example. Men throw the 2 kg, move to the 1.5 kg and to the 1.0 kg discus over the course of time. They can hold or even better their distances getting older and maybe wiser. Now, tell a runner to get better with age. They only get wiser. You see the gradual decline; it is inevitable. The new system addresses all these problems. Basis for the new system is the age group M/W 35 instead of the open world records as we have now. That is pretty clever, actually. A safety factor will prevent superior results for athletes of all age groups to convert into “open world records.” 

How has this all been accomplished? Well, Bernd Rehpenning collected data of masters multi-event athletes over a long period of time. He followed individual athletes throughout the years. Analysis of this data had to lead to realistic age grade factors, that was the assumption. It worked. Let us look the German Ranking 2008 (Man, you should see the BOOK they put out each year, 300 pages!)

We will look at all athletes of the age group M 65 that are ranked number 50 in Germany in 2008 and calculate their points if they would be in a pentathlon: Long Jump 4,22 m (675 points), Javelin 34,33 m (642), 200 m 31,17 sec (610), discus 36,30 m (700), 1.500 m 6:10,70 minutes (686). Remarkable. Balanced it is.

For those of you, who don’t know anything about age grading multi-events, it works like this. You are 65 years old and jump 4.22 m. Take the age grade factor Model 2010 and this is what you get: 4.22 m x 1.5186 age grade factor = 6.40 m. The M 65 long jump of 4.22 m compares to 6.40 m for a much younger dude in his prime. Now, we look up the multi-event tables of the IAAF, our international governing body. The points for 6.40 m:  675 points. That is what a young dude gets for 6.40 m, a young athlete M 65 for 4.22 m. Get it?

All the kudos in the IAAF world to Bernd Rehpenning and Rex Harvey. They got the job done. Nailed it! Thank you from this old multi-eventer. 

Yes, see the brand new calculator at

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April 25, 2009

5 Responses

  1. Stefan Waltermann - April 25, 2009

    My apology to Joerg Reckemeier, the German statistics guru behind the annual Masters Ranking in Germany. The 2008 edition is BIG with 645 pages. That seems to be the standard. Forget the puny 300 pages mentioned above. The “Reckemeier” as the Germans call this masterly book is much loved and much anticipated. It is on my breakfast counter right now.

  2. Weia Reinboud - April 25, 2009

    Interesting! I had spoken with Rex during the Eurovets and he announced the new gradings. I am curious for the details. In the decathlon it seems the new gradings lead to lower scores for the older ages (6500->6000 points) which is good news as the old scores were overestimating the older athletes. The older you become the higher your score in the multi-events — with the old gradings.

  3. Weia Reinboud - April 25, 2009

    I found the details:

  4. David E. Ortman (M56), Seattle, WA - April 27, 2009

    I opined on THE SECRET WORLD OF THE COMBINED-EVENTER in a May 2005 False Start column.
    The primary reason for using the age-graded tables is combined eventer ego. As combined eventers grow older, our scores on the open decathlon scoring tables drop off and for some events (e.g., my pole vault) may start to approach zero. Therefore, results are age-graded because a decathlon score of 7,500 at M60 sounds a lot more impressive than an actual score of 3,000. So why are things in such a mess?
    The age graded tables were first printed in 1989, with revised tables printed in 1994. No more tables have been printed, but around 2002 a third revised version was adopted for use which can be found on the internet (which appears to have been further modified around 2006). What does this mean? It means major confusion when trying to compare combined event results and records depending on which scoring tables were used.
    For example, Emil Pawlik is listed as the American Record holder for 1999 M60 Indoor Pentathlon – 4145 pts. Does this represent his score using the tables in use in 1999 or an adjusted score using the later 2002 tables? Or what does this score mean using the latest WMA tables? An email to Sandy Pashkin on this subject remains unanswered.
    At the same time, the Germans began tinkering with the tables and at the 2004 WMA World Indoor Meet in Sindelfingen apparently used their own tables for scoring the indoor pentathlon.
    So now WMA is ready to use a fourth set of scoring tables starting in 2011, but the Germans are using the tables this year. Choas!!! Dummheit!! Masters combined event scoring can not use two different scoring tables in the same year.
    In summary, the combined events scoring needs to be cleaned up:
    * For combined events, NMN and USAT&F should post all the individual event marks to preserve them for rescoring. (Where would you find Emil’s 1999 individual pent marks? They are not listed on the USAT&F website.)
    * All published combined event scoring should include the age-graded scoring table year. That way combined eventers would know whether the record is based on an old scoring table or the latest tables.
    * A combined events calculator is needed where you could plug in your individual events (or those made in past decades) and produce a score based on each of the adopted scoring tables. That way you could track what jiggering the tables does to combined events performances.

  5. Garry Bachman - November 2, 2009

    For me, what a mass of confusion !!!!
    Never understood it and at 88 years of age I guess I never will. So have fun at crunching numbers and solutions to what is best.
    Good luck !

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