Sheffield's hopes are dashed as bidding is re-opened

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The Independent Online

Britain's faint hope of staging the 2005 World Championships in Sheffield following the collapse of plans to host it in London was swiftly eradicated yesterday.

Despite receiving letters of support from Tessa Jowell, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and Dave Moorcroft, the chief executive of UK Athletics, the British plea was not even discussed at the International Association of Athletics Federation's council meeting in Monte Carlo.

Istvan Gyulai, the IAAF secretary, confirmed that bidding for the event, which was awarded to the British capital last year, would re-open in two days' time and that a decision on the hosts would be taken at the Council meeting next spring.

"Now the Championships will not be in London we will re-open the bidding," he said. "It was anticipated that this would happen. UK Athletics can apply and it will be evaluated with the other applicants."

A UK Athletics spokeswoman said: "This didn't come as a great surprise... all the interested parties need to decide now whether Sheffield should bid."

The response in Monaco should make it clear that the way forward for UK Athletics is not via Sheffield. Instead, Moorcroft will turn his attention to ensuring that his sport gets the maximum share of the money saved by abandoning all intent of hosting an event that Tony Blair personally guaranteed would be held at Wembley stadium.

Up to £40 million of Lottery money had been bid for to support the Sheffield bid, and Jowell has guaranteed the sport will receive another £8m for improvements around the now rejected Picketts Lock site in north London. Moorcroft's task is to ensure that such funds do not shrink or become absorbed into regenerating sport in general at grass roots level.

Meanwhile, the Council has rejected an appeal from the women's triple jump world record holder, Inessa Kravets, against her two-year suspension imposed after testing positive for the male hormone testosterone in July last year. The Ukrainian argued she had ingested the drug in a food supplement.

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