City stadium hopes to help local talent

Dr John Kelley, from Sheffeild Hallam University, with athletics coach Mike Corden,

Dr John Kelley, from Sheffeild Hallam University, with athletics coach Mike Corden,

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Equipment used by Olympic athletes is now available at a sports track in Sheffield - in the hope of helping talented locals become champions.

Sheffield Hallam University’s athletics stadium on Woodbourn Road, Attercliffe, has been kitted out with technology to allow athletes and their coaches to monitor their lap times and technique by viewing instant replays on screens.

Dr John Kelley, from Sheffeild Hallam University, with athletics coach Mike Corden,

Dr John Kelley, from Sheffeild Hallam University, with athletics coach Mike Corden,

Elite athletes around the world use similar equipment.

Sheffield Hallam University invested £125,000 in the technology and Sheffield City Council paid £25,000 from its Athletics Development Fund.

Both bodies hope the new equipment will encourage more people to use the athletics track.

Dr John Kelley, project lead and sports engineer at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “Our unique project allows schools, running clubs, students and anyone else using the Sheffield Hallam University City Athletics Stadium access to gold-standard facilities.

“Whatever your ability, anyone can come along and have the experience of using the kind of technology used by our sporting superstars.

“This has obvious benefits for people already involved in local athletics groups, but we want to use this project as a way to engage the wider community.

“This is about attracting new people to the sport and showing how becoming active can also be lots of fun.”

Councillor Isobel Bowler, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for Neighbourhoods, said: “We now have excellent facilities and the latest high-tech equipment available at the stadium for athletes of all levels.

“I believe this is a venue that the city can be proud of and I hope will be used by many more athletes, students and schools in the future.”

The Sheffield Hallam University City Athletics Stadium boasts an eight-lane running track, pole vault and high jump areas, long jump and triple jump track and pits, plus a field for shot, discuss, javelin and hammer throwing.

It underwent a £300,000 re-vamp to replace Don Valley Stadium, which was demolished in November 2013 to save Sheffield Council cash.

Don Valley was the second largest athletics stadium in the country but was under-used and subsidised by the city council.

Sheffield golden girl Jess Ennis, who won a heptathlon gold medal in the London 2012 Olympic Games, trains at the new stadium.