Sports politics: Sheffield win right for institute

The new UK Sports Institute will bring Olympic success to Britain but it will not come overnight, organisers of the successful bid insisted yesterday.

John Alderson, of the Sheffield consortium who won the right to base the institute in South Yorkshire yesterday, said the groundwork was already in place.

Elite training will be carried out at the institute headquarters at Sheffield's Don Valley Stadium where expertise in sports medicine and science will also be available. A network of regional centres will provide support to boost the nation's sporting prowess.

Alderson said: "It is a recognition that our athletes do not do quite as well as they might. What we need is financial investment that so many countries have put in by one political system or another to extract that top one per cent.

"You really must think of this as a project for the next century. There is so much to do in terms of identifying talent in schools and then bringing it into the network.

Alderson added that athletics training could already begin at the Don Valley Stadium, built for the World Student Games in 1991 and due to be enlarged to hold up to 40,000 spectators.

The sports to be catered for in Sheffield are athletics, judo, netball, table tennis, squash and swimming, to be paid for with Lottery money totalling pounds 53m.