The move to Sheffield by BWB to join the likes of British Boxing and the GB Para Table Tennis squad further cements the city as the home of Olympic and Paralympic national governing bodies.
It also adds to the number of elite sportsmen and women who will be training at the facility that supported icons such as London 2012 gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill and world heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua.
The EISS is managed by SIV and forms part of Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, being delivered by partners Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation NHS Trust and Sheffield City Council. In 2019 the Park will also become home to Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre.
Where the BWB is located has undergone a significant £250,000 refurbishment. Previously a multi-sports hall known as the ‘Blue Hall’ the space has a bespoke floor and athletes will have access to the EIS services including strength and conditioning support, nutrition advice and medical care.
SIV, which is the operating arm of the Sheffield City Trust and manages 13 sports and entertainment venues across the city for the charity, has also converted former office space close to the home of British Boxing into a multi-purpose sports area for community use.
Speaking at the opening of the ETC, Dame Katherine said: “Creating the right environment for athletes to thrive is so important at Olympic and Paralympic levels.
“BWB and SIV have created a fantastic facility here at the EISS and I think it bodes well for the sport that players will be able to train and compete every day in such a wonderful facility that has a track record of producing gold medallists.”
Lorenzo Clark, director of operations for SIV, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome BWB to the EISS. We can offer British Wheelchair Basketball a strong partnership to support their performance needs for a successful future as we have done with many other NGBs over the years.
“I can speak for everyone at SIV when I say how excited we are about this partnership and we look forward to seeing even more medals and trophies coming through the doors at the EISS.”
The Elite Training Centre is the base for the BWB’s innovative National Lottery funded centralised training programme.
Following both GB teams’ outstanding success at the Rio Paralympics, the new Elite Training Centre will be crucial in underpinning their journey to achieve podium positions in Tokyo 2020.
The centralised programme is at the heart of the Tokyo Strategy as the primary facilitator for world-class performance and aspirational destination for young talented athletes.
British Wheelchair Basketball, Performance Director, Paul Davies, said: “Sheffield presents real opportunities for both teams during the Tokyo cycle. We have medal aspirations for the next Paralympics and our Elite Training Centre will be crucial to delivering this success.
“The facilities and support services available from the English Institute of Sport and Sheffield more widely are world-class and demonstrate the investment made in them. We will be co-located with other performance teams, which can only benefit our sport, as well as having direct contact with Sheffield’s elite sport science teams.”
The move to Sheffield also helps several players continue their education away from the sport with five athletes on Sheffield Hallam University’s Performance Athlete Scholarship Programme and Talented Athlete Support Scheme.
Dan Porter, head of sport services at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “The fact that British Wheelchair Basketball has chosen Sheffield to be its new home is a reflection of the expertise we offer around supporting performance athletes at Sheffield Hallam and in the city.
“With our strong relationships with our partners across Sheffield, we are extremely proud of our sporting heritage and is the reason why many National Governing Bodies have the confidence in us as a city to deliver first-class teaching and training opportunities for elite sports.”