Don Valley alternative not fit
Olympic champion Jessica Ennis' alternative Sheffield training base has been branded "not fit for purpose".
Ennis will be forced to find new training headquarters after Sheffield Council announced last week that the 25,000-capacity Don Valley stadium - where Ennis has trained since a teenager - would be closed in September due to costs.
The nearby Woodbourn Road track, which was shut down two years ago, has been earmarked as a possible replacement venue although Ennis' coach Toni Minichiello has already said a move there would represent a "hefty blow" to her Olympic hopes in Rio.
Minichiello's concern has been echoed by Rotherham-born former Olympic silver medallist Peter Elliott.
Elliott spent the past four years as the English Institute of Sport's regional director for the north, before recently taking on a new role in senior management, and admitted Ennis' legacy on young athletes in her home city was in danger of being lost.
"If we want legacy and we want young athletes being there (at the Olympics in) 2020 and 2024 then they have to provide an alternative venue, which I do believe is Woodbourn Road," Elliott told Sportsweek.
"Currently that is not really fit for purpose. They are going to have to invest money into that stadium to bring it up to a standard that will accommodate an Olympic champion.
"What they do need to do is look at the legacy and they need to look at the fact they have an Olympic champion in the city. They need to invest in Woodbourn Road and make it fit for purpose and ensure our next generation of Jessica Ennis' have a home to train at."
Elliott said Ennis and the athletes who currently use the Don Valley Stadium could be forced to train outside Sheffield - with the closest current viable options at Barnsley or Doncaster.
"What's an even added disappointment is my home track Rotherham has announced that it is also going to close," he said.
"That is six miles away so anybody who was thinking, 'we can't go to Don Valley so we'll go to Rotherham', well now that's been taken out of the equation.
"If Woodbourn Road is not fit for purpose then those athletes will have to travel all the way to Barnsley or to Doncaster. It's a real concern.
"If you want to attract youngsters to the sport you have to supply a facility. As a parent myself you don't want the additional cost of having to ferry your children all the way over to another part of the county."
Sheffield Council said last week it had spent £700,000 on the Don Valley Stadium in 2012-13 and was unable to maintain the venue as they attempt to make £50million in budget cuts.
"It's incredibly sad," Elliott said. "I think to be investing £700,000-800,000 a year when they've got to make huge budget cuts is probably beyond them.
"There's not been a big track and field meet there for a long time.
"It's reliant on money coming from people coming to use the track and the only time it has been full is when you get the big rock concerts there."