Will Sheffield ever produce another Jessica Ennis-Hill?

Great Britain's Jessica Ennis celebrates winning Gold in the Women's Heptathlon after the 800 metres at the Olympic Stadium, London, on the eighth day of the London 2012 Olympics.
Great Britain's Jessica Ennis celebrates winning Gold in the Women's Heptathlon after the 800 metres at the Olympic Stadium, London, on the eighth day of the London 2012 Olympics.
0
Have your say

Olympic winning coach, Toni Minichiello, isn’t holding his breath waiting for any invitation to be involved in any future Woodbourn Road Stadium development in Sheffield.

Last week, former sports minister Richard Caborn, at a briefing to announce proposals of the Olympic Legacy on the former Don Valley site, said there may be potential for the nearby site to be upgraded with indoor, all-weather facilities.

However despite helping Jessica Ennis-Hill to heptathlon gold and playing a pivotal role in Sheffield athletics, Minichiello is not expecting to have any influence in future Woodbourn plans.

“I would like to have a say in the developments but after upsetting the council and other individuals on a few occasions I think they are unlikely to come knocking,” he said.

“I just hope proper planning goes into it. The stadium will need 365-day usage so, going forward, it has to be designed not only to sustain athletics but other sports. They need to look at Sheffield and Sheffield people and importantly longevity - a lasting legacy.”

Money was invested into Woodbourn stadium towards the end of 2013 - roughly £325,000 was spent on installing new floodlights adding extra seating and making improvements to the track.

However, Minichiello is disappointed with the current facilities available and claims the potential investment must be vastly increased to put Sheffield back on the map again for athletics.

“Athletics could disappear in this city and I don’t think the planned investment will be large enough to host something say as big as a Grand Prix - like a Diamond League event for example like what has happened in London or Glasgow,” he said.

“Will it even host an English School event? That is a very tentative thing as I just don’t the willingness to invest or even look at that as an event that Sheffield can cater for- but it should do. We must remember that if this city can produce one Jessica Ennis-Hill it can produce 10. I have seen very talented individuals when I visit schools but to help the site has to be used as a mechanism to harness them and help them develop.”