Race is on to get athletics stadium up to scratch

File photo dated 19/07/12 of Great Britain coach Toni Minichiello.  PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday January 23, 2013. Toni Minichiello, who coached Jessica Ennis to Olympic heptathlon gold, is in talks with UK Athletics over a new role after losing his old job as Olympic coach. See PA Story ATHLETICS Minichiello. Photo credit should read: David Jones/PA Wire.
File photo dated 19/07/12 of Great Britain coach Toni Minichiello. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday January 23, 2013. Toni Minichiello, who coached Jessica Ennis to Olympic heptathlon gold, is in talks with UK Athletics over a new role after losing his old job as Olympic coach. See PA Story ATHLETICS Minichiello. Photo credit should read: David Jones/PA Wire.

The race is on to get Woodbourn Road athletics stadium ready for September’s handover from Don Valley.

Improvements are being made by the council, including upgrading the track and field, refurbishing changing rooms, installing better floodlights and replacing all 450 seats.

The authority says it is working with local athletics clubs, which are backing the strategy, and as well as Woodbourn Road, athletes can use the English Institute of Sport.

But Toni Minichiello, coach of Olympic gold medallist Jess Ennis-Hill, said a lot more work was needed on Woodbourn Road, and indoor facilities at the EIS were already “chocka”.

“At the moment, (Woodbourn Road) is a potato field surrounded by a running track and will need to be completely relaid. Some of the training with elite athletes is on grass because using running tracks every day can damage their knees. There also isn’t a suitable indoor running track once Don Valley closes.

“To get Woodbourn Road right would cost £2m to £3m.”