Sheffield making big splash in sporting world

Sports pix ' a swimmer in action at Pond's Forge and the English Institute of Sport's indoor athletics track ' two of the world class venues Sheffield boasts.
Sports pix ' a swimmer in action at Pond's Forge and the English Institute of Sport's indoor athletics track ' two of the world class venues Sheffield boasts.
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THE 2012 Olympics have produced sporting gold for Sheffield - with pre-games training camps bringing in £20 million for the local economy and £10 million of investment in facilities.

One in seven of Team GB’s athletes have trained in Sheffield in the run up to the London tournament and the city has also hosted over 70 separate international training camps and sports events.

In the last few weeks before the Olympics, there have been a total of 11 nations, eight varieties of sport and over 250 athletes and officials descending on the city from as far and wide as the USA, Brazil, Russia, Canada and Japan.

Sheffield Council leader, Coun Julie Dore, said: “Sheffield clearly has a great reputation on a global scale to be able to attract such world class athletes and their training camps.

“We will be working hard to continue this momentum over the coming years to keep the money flowing into the city. We have invested much in sport over the years, and at a time when money is scarce it is great to see this is paying dividends for the people of Sheffield.”

A civic celebration is to be held in Barker’s Pool on Friday evening to welcome Millhouses gold medal-winning heptathlete Jessica Ennis back home, which is expected to be attended by 10,000 people.

She is also likely to be given the prestigious Freedom of the City.

Other options for lasting recognition of Jess’s achievements, which could even include renaming the Don Valley Stadium in her honour, are being considered.

Coun Dore said there will be a further civic event after the Paralympics to honour other Olympic and Paralympic athletes based in the city.

The haul of medals by athletes who train in Sheffield also includes golds achieved by boxers Nicola Adams, Anthony Joshua and Luke Campbell, all based at the English Institute of Sport, Attercliffe.

Lorenzo Clark, director of operations for Sheffield International Venues, which operates many of the sporting venues used by elite athletes in the city, added: “We are extremely proud of the athletes and the part they have played in Team GB’s phenomenal Olympic success.”

Sheffield Council, Sheffield International Venues, Sheffield Hallam University and Hospitality Sheffield say they will be working ‘flat out’ to attract athletics training events to Sheffield over the next five years.

The possibility of Sheffield hosting a major international conference on ‘Sporting Legacy’ is also being discussed.

Other spin-offs include £10 million announced by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley at the start of the year to develop a National Sports and Exercise Medicine Centre of Excellence in Sheffield.

The centre, to be created and run by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University, will help get people active and treat injuries caused by exercise or conditions caused by lack of exercise.