Concerns raised over running track in Sheffield

Jess Ennis-Hill with Abby Newton
Jess Ennis-Hill with Abby Newton
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Parents of athletes who were forced to train in the dark at a Sheffield track are calling for improvements to be made - claiming the city will never produce another Jess Ennis-Hill unless there are changes at the venue.

Athletes have been using the Sheffield Hallam University City Athletics Stadium, on Woodbourn Road, Attercliffe, since Don Valley stadium closed but on Monday night a group turned up to train and discovered that the floodlights had not been switched on and there was nobody available to put them on.

Sheffield Hallam University, which runs the track, said all clubs were asked what days they wanted to train and Monday was not one of them, but some parents are calling for improvements at the facility.

Laverne Newton, whose 14-year-old daughter Abby, from Swallownest, is a promising 100m and 200m sprinter, said: “Sheffield has a lot of talented, dedicated young athletes but my fear is that the city is not going to produce another Jess Ennis-Hill unless changes are made at the track.

“It is impossible to contact anyone from Sheffield Hallam University, there are no numbers on the internet for anything to do with the track, and I am worried that unless changes are made now it will end up like another Don Valley.

“Athletes must be able to use it.”

Richard McGloin, assistant director at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “We met representatives of the clubs prior to Christmas to agree their requirements at the Sheffield Hallam University City Athletics Stadium, formerly known as Woodbourn, over the Christmas and New Year holiday.

“The clubs confirmed daytime access was sufficient during this period and that floodlights for night training were not required.

“They agreed to make their members aware of this and, of course, the English Institute of Sport has also remained open for training during the holiday period.

“Night training under lights at the stadium will resume as normal on January 6.”