Sheffield avoids sinking feeling over olympic pool

British Olympic diver Tom Daley performs a dive into the new aquatic centre dive pool as the official one year countdown to the opening ceremony begins. PRESS ASSOCIATION photo. Picture date:  Wednesday, July 27, 2011. See PA story OLYMPICS Countdown. Picture credit should read: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Wire
British Olympic diver Tom Daley performs a dive into the new aquatic centre dive pool as the official one year countdown to the opening ceremony begins. PRESS ASSOCIATION photo. Picture date: Wednesday, July 27, 2011. See PA story OLYMPICS Countdown. Picture credit should read: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Wire

THE launch of the £303m Aquatics Centre in London will not cause too many waves in Sheffield, say council leaders.

It will mean competition for Ponds Forge, which has staged the European Swimming Championships, four FINA World Diving contests and, most recently, the national youth swimming championships.

But council chief executive John Mothersole said: “There was speculation the new facilities created for the Commonwealth Games in Manchester would spell the end for Sheffield but we have just had our best year ever for hosting sports competitions and events.

“What happens when competitions like the Olympics are held is that interest in sport grows – so more events should be held in the UK. Sheffield still has much to offer.

“What we have discovered in this business is that shiny and new doesn’t always mean most desirable. Ponds Forge is still held up as the premier diving venue in the UK.”

Sheffield is hosting 60 national and international competitions across its range of multi-million-pound leisure venues this year, which, it is argued, generate millions of pounds for the hospitality sector.

Lorenzo Clark, head of operations at Sheffield International Venues, which runs the centres, said: “We have set a benchmark as an international sporting destination of choice and are determined that we see even more events – sporting, leisure and business – come to the city in future years.’’