Sport: Sheffield wins vote as site of new academy

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Sheffield was yesterday chosen from a shortlist of three as the venue for the new national sports academy. Mike Rowbottom reports.

The city of Sheffield will host the key elements of a new network of top-class sporting facilities aimed at producing world-beaters of the future.

The pounds 60m United Kingdom Sports Institute will form a new base for eight key sports - athletics, swimming, netball, road cycling, squash, volleyball, judo and triathlon.

Sheffield beat off competition from two other consortiums competing for the honour, based around Nottingham and Upper Heyford in Oxfordshire, in the final round of a bidding process that began a year ago with 25 prospective hosts.

Up to pounds 160m of National Lottery money will be made available by the Home Country Sports Councils to finance a new network of facilities which will make up the institute.

Up to pounds 60m of that will go towards a site that hosted the World Student Games in 1991 and already contains major facilities such as the Don Valley stadium, the Sheffield Ice Arena and the Ponds Forge international pool.

"This is an historic moment for sport," Chris Smith, the Culture, Media and Sports Secretary said.

"It fires the starting gun for the next stage in a process which I believe will provide our very best sporting talent with the facilities and back- up to help them challenge and beat the rest of the world.

"It will provide the very best in sports science, medicine, nutrition and coaching expertise and will stimulate an exchange of training techniques across a range of disciplines."