Martin Smith: Sheffield's manufacturing heritage continues - this time with champions

Dina Asher-Smith
Dina Asher-Smith
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They still make steel in the east end of Sheffield but they’re making something else there now as well.

Champions.

The Champions of the kind we saw on the podium in Berlin on Sunday as the British team were crowned kings and queens of European athletics.

Much of that glory and excellence began in Sheffield and other centres of the English Institute of Sport.

Once derided as an over-ambitious pipe dream the Institute system has been helping to turn out greatness on a regular basis through athletes like Jessica Ennis, Anthony Joshua, Nichola Adams and now Dina Asher-Smith and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey.

EIS Sheffield was part of former Sports Minister Richard Caborn’s Millennium vision for a sports training, science, education and manufacturing ‘corridor’ in the Don Valley to stretch from from Meadowhall to Midland Station.

It was, for once, one of those big ideas that largely came off.

The millions spent since it’s £24milllion creation in 2003 have brought big-name, elite sports names to the Sheffield and helped build on the venues legacy of 1991’s much-maligned World Student Games.

By 2012 the national network of Institute Of Sport centres had helped put Britain back up among the world’s elite sporting nations.

The co-ordinated approach has also more recently been adapted by the FA at St Georges through the age group national sides now feeding the first team.

Success is no mystery.

Encourage participation through good facilities, find talent, fund excellent coaching and you will produce winners.

# Is it just me or are sports-phone-in shows fast disappearing up their own air-time?

I’m not talking about Radio Sheffield’s Praise or Grumble, though that’s had issues with people thinking it’s the funniest thing ever to swear on the radio. Really?

No it’s the Five Live shock-jock tactics of presenters like Robbie Savage and Chris Sutton.

Both top players in their time and both good on the radio, but the seemingly relentless demand for controversy, outrageous opinion, mock anger and provocation of callers makes the shows difficult to listen to at times.

The hype for the new season has been rampant.

The resulting on-air hysteria doesn’t really do either man much credit.

You’ve got to love Robbie Savage’s mum on the show but she needs to have a word with her lad and his mate to calm them down a bit.

# Lovely to see Rotherham and Ipswich fans’ ‘To me, To you’tribute to Barry Chuckle at the weekend eagerly applauded by Paul from the seat where he sat alongside brother Barry for so many years. Nice touch.