Big clubs are back
In September, MVP Track Club president, Bruce James, said that his club was as strong as ever and Racers president Glen Mills may feel the same way about his club. Both the MVP and the Racers had encouraging results in the old year. In addition, both have promising new members.
The impression of MVP buoyancy was confirmed recently with O'Dayne Richards and Kaliese Spencer being named Jamaica's top athletes for 2014 and with Stephen Francis named top coach.
Add the World Indoor Championship 60-metre victory by Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the growth of Stephenie McPherson and Janieve Russell and the super sprinting by the MVP-coached University of Technology (UTech) team, then we can all share the optimism.
At the Penn Relays, UTech won both the college men's 4x100 and 4x200. In the latter, UTech sped to the fourth fastest clocking of all time, one minute, 20.07 seconds.
Coach Mills probably feels just as good about his club. Racers ran 38.14 seconds for the 4x100m at the Gibson Relays without the incomparable Usain Bolt. At the Commonwealth Games, 23-year-old Kemar Bailey-Cole won the 100 metres.
With Bolt, Yohan Blake and Antiguan Daniel Bailey returning from injury-troubled seasons, expect the Racers to speed this year.
On the plus side, Kerron Stewart and Schillonie Calvert, third and fifth, respectively, in the 100 at the Commonwealth Games, made progress.
Both big clubs have exciting new members. Double Carifta champion Jevaughn Minzie and World Junior 110 hurdles runner-up, Tyler Mason, have joined Anguillan Zharnel Hughes and 2012 World Junior 200m winner, Delano Williams, at the Racers. The MVP now has speed ball Christania Williams and 9.93 man Kemarley Brown.
These two clubs have boosted Jamaica's performance at the world level. When they are strong, Jamaica is strong.
Other local clubs are getting in on the act. Michael Clarke's Akan Track Club has the exciting Javon Francis. Bert Cameron's Blazers and Maurice Wilson's Sprintec, home of 2014 Commonwealth 200m champion Rasheed Dwyer, are building too.
Add outstanding overseas-based stars like Veronica Campbell-Brown and Kimberly Williams and you have the ingredients of a 2015 season well worth digesting. Most of the cooking is being done at home.
n Hubert Lawrence has scrutinised athletics since 1980