Northern Lights: Sheffield has had a great sporting year - let’s take time to celebrate it

Oasis Academy Don Valley pupils on the 100m track that is part of the public space at the Olympic Legacy Park.
Oasis Academy Don Valley pupils on the 100m track that is part of the public space at the Olympic Legacy Park.

So far, 2018 has been a great year for Sheffield sport. The city has been put on the world sporting map and there have been few international sporting events where Sheffield has not been mentioned as a result of a sportsman or sportswoman either coming from this great city or training here.

And, of course there’s the staging of high profile sporting events in the city (snooker, swimming and athletics) and the profile that is brought by our five professional sporting clubs – Blades, Owls, Eagles, Sharks and Steelers.

It’s a record the city can be proud of and, once again to celebrate recent achievements, Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, as we did in 2016 after the Rio Games,

Recent events including the Winter Olympics, the Commonwealth Games, the football World Cup and the European Games - whilst not forgetting the Test match against India which as I write, England, captained by Joe Root, lead in the five-match series - all mean Sheffield is making its mark and building a well-deserved profile.

And there are many more individuals who are contributing such as the summerhayes sisters in skiing, the Haslam brothers in diving, the Litchfield brothers in swimming, the GB Boxing squad, pole vaulter Adam Hague, as well as the likes of Sheffield-born football stars Harry Maguire, Kyle Walker and Jamie Vardy.

This current crop of notable Sheffield athletes follows on from those that made the headlines at both the London and Rio Olympics.

In fact, if the English Institute of Sport Sheffield had been a nation it would have finished 14th and 16th respectfully in those medal tables.

It’s a record the city can be proud of and, once again to celebrate recent achievements, Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, as we did in 2016 after the Rio Games, will be celebrating by staging the second Celebration of Sport Dinner on Thursday October 4 for up to 1,000 guests in the Indoor Athletics Arena at the English Institute of Sport Sheffield.

Throughout the evening we will celebrate the achievements of Sheffield’s athletes past and present who have performed on the world stage but also importantly will recognise the many people and organisations who have made this possible.

Deservedly, it promises to be a spectacular night following the inaugural event two years ago attended by famous faces including World boxing champion Anthony Joshua and Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill.

Mountain biker Steve Peat, Olympic diver Freddie Woodward, Team England Commonwealth Basketball Captain Mike Tuck, and the GB Boxing Commonwealth medalists will be making an appearance this year.

Other ‘names’ will be announced shortly.

The night will feature an exciting visual spectacular showcasing the fast-growing urban sports scene, where the city is fast gaining a reputation.

The evening will see the presentation of seven awards for senior sports performer, disabled sports performer, young sports performer, community amateur sports club, community sports volunteer, move more power of sport, and contribution to sport and physical activity in education.  A lifetime achievement award will also be presented.

The event is also a fundraiser for two local charities - Sheffield Children’s Hospital Charity and the Yorkshire Sport Foundation.

It promises to be a great evening, so if you want to be part of the celebrations please visit www.sheffieldcelebrationofsport.co.uk or call 0114 261 9604 to book your tickets.

In the meantime, the big question and the cloud hovering over sport particularly for many grassroots sporting clubs and organisations, is, how can we, with the decline in public funding, manage to provide the facilities and support for strong grassroots participation?

It’s the question and conversation we at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park will be taking on board later this year.

We will, with other interested organisations, be arranging events and meetings to try to find the answers and solutions to these problems.