Sheffield's Don Valley Stadium hosts final major event

Don Valley Stadium Don Valley Stadium was built in 1990 at a cost of £29m

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The last major athletics event to take place at Sheffield's Don Valley Stadium has begun.

The Sainsbury's School Games, which features the UK's elite young athletes, runs from Thursday to Sunday.

More than 1,600 participants will compete across 12 sports, with disability events in six sports.

In April, Sheffield City Council formalised plans to demolish the stadium where Jessica Ennis-Hill trains after stating it was unsustainable.

Paralympian and double gold medal winner Hannah Cockroft said the games were "incredibly important".

Don Valley Stadium 1990 - 2013

  • The stadium was completed in September 1990 at a cost of £29m
  • With a seated capacity of 25,000, it is the second largest athletics stadium in the UK, behind the London Olympic Stadium
  • Musical acts including the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, and Tina Turner have performed there

"They are the reason that I got picked up for Team GB and came through and won two gold medals at London."

'Synonymous with athletics'

Fellow medal winner Jonnie Peacock described the event as a "mini-Olympics" that could provide a "vital stepping stone" for young athletes.

Don Valley Stadium is set to be replaced by Woodbourn Road Athletics Stadium, which is currently being refurbished, with Sheffield Hallam University running the site.

Alison Oliver, from the Youth Sport Trust, said: "It is sad. Don Valley has been synonymous with athletics for a long time and has produced wonderful performers like Jessica Ennis-Hill.

"But, the great news is there will be another stadium at international standard where events like this can continue well into the future and we would not hesitate in coming back here because we know the city could still deliver for us."

Campaigners hoping to save the stadium from demolition are expected to learn on 25 September if their bid to have it listed as an asset of community value has succeeded.

The stadium is currently set to close for good on 30 September.

Athletes will compete in athletics, badminton, cycling, fencing, gymnastics, hockey, judo, rugby 7's, swimming, table tennis, volleyball and wheelchair basketball.

The opening ceremony of the games will take place at the Motorpoint Arena, in Sheffield, at 20:00 BST.

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