© Sheffield Hallam University
The Outdoor City and Home of Football aside, we are renowned around the world for some sports, and have a lesser told history in others. Often this is because of facilities - either from our geography or our sporting centres - and other times it’s because of people from the city who achieve extraordinary things and bring their talents back to the city, such as Jess Ennis-Hill, Brendan Ingle, Steve Peat, Shauna Coxsey and Matt Fitzpatrick.
The city proudly boasts an Olympic size swimming pool and diving centre at Ponds Forge, the English Institute of Sport, London’s 2012 Olympic Hockey Pitch (relaid at Abbeydale Sports Club), two Olympic sized ice rinks at Ice Sheffield, and was a key stage for the Tour de France in 2014.
The facilities we have here made it an easy choice for the Invictus UK Trials in 2019, showcasing the city’s stance on accessibility for all in sport.
Here’s a quick lowdown on some of the sports we are most well known for.
It’s no coincidence that Invictus chose to host their trials here as mentioned above - the city is proud to work in collaboration with Within Reach, a phenomenal charity championing disability sport for all ages to get more people into physical activity. More recently, Move More have also taken up this challenge with the sole intention of improving the health of the population and making Sheffield the most active city in the UK. This has seen them break hopscotch world records and create simple exercise plans that have seen thousands of people get involved, no matter of their ability or background.
Sheffield is one of the climbing capitals of the world given its proximity to both the Dark Peak (gritstone) and White Peak (limestone) - a natural phenomena occurring in the Peak District National Park on the city’s doorstep. This has led to a huge number of people living in Sheffield purely for this fact alone, and made many more come to visit (and then stay indefinitely too!). World famous but humble individuals such as Steve McClure, Lucy Creamer and Shauna Coxsey are all proud to be here purely for the rock, and others such as Ben set up the world famous Moon climbing brand which is still based in the city. And not forgetting Joe Simpson, whose escapades featured in the well known film, Touching the Void.
Image credit: Duncan Philpott
It’s therefore commonplace to see a number of artificial boulders in many of the parks around the city, as well as 5 indoor climbing centres all within a few miles radius (The Climbing Works, Awesome Walls, The Foundry, The Depot and Matrix). You can get a good lowdown on all of them and more here. The city also hosts the British Bouldering Championships every year at Cliffhanger festival, as well as the Climbing Works International Festival (CWIF).
Herol Graham, Naseem Hamed, Johnny Nelson and Paul Jones were all world champions at some stage, and all were a product of Brendan Ingle’s Wincobank Gym.
But there are plenty of others too, such as Kell Brook, and other gyms where the up and coming stars of the sport are trained, such as the Sheffield Boxing Centre run by Glyn Rhodes MBE and the Boxing centre at the English Institute of Sport who work with GB Boxing in their top class facilities.
Whether half marathons are your thing, parkruns, fell and endurance running, or a Round Sheffield Run, we’ve got it all. There’s a guide to the numerous clubs, associations and groups here, which we think you’ll agree means everyone is catered for. The hills here make it challenging for visitors, but that’s exactly why the locals embrace it, and come rain or shine you’ll see plenty of people running competitively, for pleasure, or even just to commute wherever you go around town.
Thanks to Ponds Forge there are some amazing swimming and diving programmes and it is home to some of the GB squads, but also it caters for some lesser known sports thanks to the uniqueness of the pool’s facilities but also the large seating capacity around it - Underwater Hockey being a prime example.
Another example of an aspect of sport for which Sheffield is considered a mecca. John Horscroft and Mark Etches are two of the local gurus in this field, having helped to set up numerous events and exhibitions as well as trails around the city. Parkwood Springs and Lady Cannings are prime examples of world-class downhill mountain biking, whilst Greno Woods is put to good use in the Steel City Downhill. And for those less into mud and more into lycra, the Sheffield Grand Prix, Bradfield Hill Climb and Magnificent 7 in the road scene are revered around the world.
When you’ve hosted the World Snooker Championship since 1977, and all the current and ex-players speak so fondly of their love for the city on the BBC every year, there’s really not much more to say. We are so proud to be the main event on the world calendar every year, and love taking over the city with snooker-mania to welcome visitors from around the planet.
Home to the Sheffield Steelers, Bears, Scimitars and Senators - as well as Bradfield Brewery’s SteelDogs - it’s fair to say there’s a lot of love for the ice here. What’s even more incredible is that the annual finale to the Varsity competition between the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam consistently holds the record for the highest attended Varsity Ice Hockey match outside of North America, with over 7,000 students attending to watch.
It might not be the first sport to spring to mind when you think of an ex-industrial city, but there are a huge number of courses in Sheffield. And they have crafted some of the best young golfers in the country today - from Danny Willet to Holly Morgan. And if you thought Matt Fitzpatrick was doing good things, then keep an eye on his brother Alex who’s out to go one better than his older sibling!
Sheffield Eagles have long been a stalwart of the Rugby League scene in the UK, and the city’s heritage will see us play host in the Rugby League World Cup in 2021 for both the men’s tournament and wheelchair tournament.