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Page last updated at 15:24 GMT, Tuesday, 27 July 2010 16:24 UK
What will the 2012 Olympics mean for South Yorkshire?
The English Institute of Sport in Sheffield
The English Institute of Sport in Sheffield is training Olympic 2012 hopefuls

On 27th July 2012 the Olympic Games will open in London. It promises to be the biggest sporting event the country will have seen - bt will South Yorkshire reap any of the rewards?

Barnsley Council have developed a partnership with the London Borough of Newham which is the principle host borough of the Olympic sites.

Oliver Coppard is Barnsley's Partnership Manager. He told BBC Radio Sheffield what the partnership means for Barnsley.

"It started in 2008 between Barnsley Council Leader Steve Houghton and the mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales who are good friends."

"The Newham-Barnsley partnership will run until 2012 and beyond. It means Barnsley is at the forefront of London 2012, not on the sidelines. We'll be running events, programmes and projects that really get the whole community involved in London 2012.

"We'll have visits from internationally-renowned athletes - Linford Christie is coming to Barnsley in August 2010 and we're taking people to London to take part in events."

But big council cuts are looming and it is a difficult time for the public sector and questions are being asked whether it can justify the money being spent...

"As economic times become more difficult it becomes even more important to do things like this," says Oliver Coppard. "It shows our ambition and aspiration, and it gives people something to look forward to. We could have done nothing but we decided to put ourselves in this unique position.

"No two other councils have joined forces. Newham is the principle host borough so 60% of the Olympic sites are within its borders - we'll get a range of opportunities we wouldn't otherwise have had."

Olympic swimmer James Curtain, diver Megan Sylvester and Paralympic table tennis champion Sue Gilroy are all from Barnsley. "We punch well above our weight when it comes to sport in the area," says Oliver Coppard.

Sheffield's sporting venues

Sheffield City Council has its very own Delivery Manager for the London 2010 Olympics.

"I think from Sheffield's point of view we're already benefiting from the games," says Ben Brailsford. "A lot of places are having to wait until 2012 but we've already got bases for four of Great Britain's performance sports in the city - Ponds Forge and the English Institute of Sport are two of them. So if you want to see an Olympian or Paralympian training or competing, you can just pop down to venues in the city."

Sheffield Heptathlete Jessica Ennis
Sheffield Heptathlete Jessica Ennis will only have focus on her forthcoming competition

One South Yorkshire firm which has already benefited from the Olympics is MLS Montgomery Leisure Services in Sheffield. Yuri Matischen is the Managing Director:

"We stage events and are one of the companies that has benefited from being associated with the Olympics without actually being in London. Many other companies nationwide have won contracts linked to the developments in East London, too.

"Right now a lot of events leading up to the Olympics are going on around the country. The European Fencing Championships, World Goalball Championships (a Paralympic sport) and wheelchair rugby have all been staged in Sheffield recently.

"There are £700 million in contracts coming out soon - anything from supplying loo roll to hosting an event. There's a lot to go for and it's great in these economically difficult times that you can go and win some business."

Talking Sport

There is a wealth of talent across South Yorkshire, which includes table tennis player Paul Drinkhall from Rotherham who has a good chance at challenging some of the top players in the world.

Sheffield's Jessica Ennis will hopefully be in the running for the heptathlon Gold in 2012. Jessica has spent many years training at Sheffield's Institute of Sport in Attercliffe, amongst other world class athletes - including Great Britain's Boxing team.

Rob McCracken is Performance Director of GB Boxing at the English Institute of Sport. He is in the process of training Olympic hopefuls.

One of the training rooms at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield
The training gym at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield

"We're currently training hard for a multi-nations event in Sheffield in August 2010. Boxers from Kazakhstan, China and France are coming over. By the time the Olympics are here Great Britain will have a really strong and experienced team.

"There are about 40 boxers currently training at the English Institute of Sport; the development squad for the younger ones who need to gain international experience; the podium squad for the Olympic hopefuls; the more experienced such as the European world medallists, and the women's squad - they're the best female boxers in the country."

Peter Elliot

Peter Elliot is the Regional Director for the English Institute of Sport for the North and is a former Commonwealth 1500 metres champion and Olympic silver medallist:

"For the Olympics to happen on the athletes' home turf will mean a lot and be very very special.

"Athletes tend to focus on the here and now," explains Peter. "So even though it's only two years from now, there are stepping stones for those championships, competitions and qualifiers to get to London 2012."




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