Claudia Hammond reports from the sprint capital of the world, Jamaica, for the second of four special Health Check programmes on the lifecycle of an athlete. In “From Promise to the Podium”, she investigates how this tiny island, of fewer than three million people, so consistently turns out world class track athletes.
At the first race meet of the season, at the National Stadium in Kingston, she watches hundreds of school children from the country’s high schools competing at the Camperdown Classic, and then holds her breath with the rest of the crowd, as the world’s youngest-ever 100m World Champion, Yohan Blake, runs a personal best in the 400 metres. Jamaican sprint training has come home, and most of the elite athletes now choose to stay on the island with the top coaches at Racers and MVP clubs, instead of moving abroad.
At an early morning training session at MVP at Utech in Kingston, the man who set up MVP – Maximising Velocity and Power – eleven years ago, Stephen Francis discusses his determination to keep Jamaican athletes on home turf.