The International Orienteering Federation (IOF) maintains World Ranking tables.
There are tables for men and women, separate ones for forest and sprint orienteering. (And also for Trail, Ski and Mountain Bike Orienteering.)
The tables are used to determine the start order at major races. It is almost always advantageous to start later in a forest orienteering race. So the process rewards higher ranking positions by sorting the runners so that more highly ranked runners start later. But perhaps the crucial reason is that it helps the drama build up (in sprint as well as forest), as the final runners tend to do the best times.
Points for the tables come from doing well in World Ranking Events (of which there are many - Easter Saturday's JK Middle are one of five round the world that day), with the World Championships and World Cup races having more weighting. The system is not perfect, but start order is important.
Several of the runners did not run many weighted races in 2017 so they miss out on points. Graham Gristwood for example only ran the World Cup Round 4 individual forest races. Kris Jones ran no 2017 World Cup sprints apart from the World Champs qualification race (which he used as a fitness test for the relay.)
|Ranking List||British Runners|
|Sprint - Women||6 in top 100, 4 in top 50, highest ranked Megan Carter-Davies at "#40|
|Forest - Women||7 in top 100, highest ranked Hollie Orr at "#25. Ahead of Hollie only 2 are not from SWE/SUI/FIN/NOR/RUS.|
|Sprint - Men||6 in top 100, 3 in top 30, highest ranked Kris Jones at "#17|
|Forest - Men||5 in top 100, highest ranked Graham Gristwood at "#36|