Sport 12.03.19

‘Target for Tokyo 2020’ – 500 days to go

More than 120 athletes are in training at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park for Olympic and Paralympic glory at Tokyo 2020.

This remarkable figure indicates that Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park continues to play a significant role in producing successful athletes at the highest level.

12 March 2019 marks 500 days to go until the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, followed on 13 April 2019 by the 500 days to go milestone for the Paralympic Games.

Former Minister for Sport and Project Lead for Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, Richard Caborn, said: “We are really excited about the level of talent currently training here.

“This current crop of notable Sheffield-based athletes follows on from those that made the headlines at the London and Rio Olympics and Paralympics. In fact, if the English Institute of Sport Sheffield had been a nation it would have finished 14th and 16th respectfully in those Olympic medal tables.

“From the likes of boxer, Peter McGrail, to para table tennis player, Aaron Mckibben, we wanted to highlight some of the ‘ones to watch’ as we count down to the Games,” added Richard.

A key element of Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park is the English Institute of Sport Sheffield (EISS), the current training venue for esteemed Olympic Gold Medallist and world heavyweight boxing champion, Anthony Joshua OBE. The EISS is also the former training venue of 2012 Olympic Heptathlon gold medallist, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill DBE.

EISS is a centre of excellence for Paralympic sport, with an increasing number of national governing bodies choosing EISS as their home, including British Wheelchair Basketball and British Para Table Tennis.

Paralympic athletes training at EISS include the current World Champions in Men’s British Wheelchair Basketball and Rio 2016 Paralympic Table Tennis gold medallist, Will Bayley MBE.

Athletes accessing the facilities and support services at EISS are from a range of sports including Wheelchair Basketball, Boxing, Paralympic Table Tennis, Paralympic Badminton, Diving, Swimming, Trampolining, Athletics, Cycling, Climbing, Equestrian and Paralympic Equestrian.

Sheffield is the only city in the world bringing together elite and professional athletes training alongside the local community in one of the UK’s most deprived areas with the aim of redefining physical activity and health.

In the heart of the city’s former steel works district, Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park is delivering a tangible legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games through a combination of world-class sports facilities, education, new skills, research and innovation, environmental improvements and opportunities for the local community.

Following the demolition of the Don Valley Athletics Stadium in 2013 the site was identified by Richard Caborn, as an opportunity to develop a Sheffield Sports Hub.

In 2015, Legacy Park Ltd was created, a partnership between Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Sheffield Hallam University, to create a centre of excellence for sport, health and wellbeing research and innovation.

Richard continued: “While Sheffield always has and will continue to produce world-leading athletes, it’s important to note that Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park is about transforming health and wellbeing through physical activity. We have school children and the general public using the Park’s facilities alongside elite athletes – all with the aim of tackling some of the leading health issues we face today.”

Andrew Snelling, Chief Executive at SIV which operates EISS said, “Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park is transforming this area of Sheffield and the EISS is an integral part of this.

“We’re extremely proud of the world-leading facilities on offer here, and the number of Olympic and Paralympic medal-winning athletes is a real testament to this.

“The countdown to Tokyo 2020 is a really exciting time and we look forward to cheering on our incredible Sheffield athletes.”