DEMOLITION work has begun at the Sheffield stadium where athletics hero Jessica Ennis-Hill was discovered and trained for her Olympics triumph.
A piece of heavy machinery was seen tearing down fencing and advertising hoardings this morning around the running track at the Don Valley Stadium.
Contractors in hard hats and high-visibility jackets were working in the stands at the venue, which was closed earlier this year as a council cost-cutting measure.
In addition, a large banner advertising the demolition firm carrying out the work was draped across the centre of the main grandstand.
The decision was taken to close the stadium as part of Sheffield City Council’s attempts to save £50 million next year.
It was costing the council around £700,000 a year to run and needed major refurbishment, councillors argued.
Don Valley’s fate was finally sealed last month when the council turned down a last-minute appeal from a campaign group that collected nearly 6,000 signatures on a petition to save it.
Ennis-Hill, who won heptathlon gold at the Olympics in London last year, was discovered when she attended a summer athletics event for children at the Don Valley when she was 10.
Since then, she used it as her base and cited the facility as one of the reasons why she had not been tempted away from her home city.
Sheffield City Council said the training facilities available at the stadium are now being provided at a newly-revamped athletics track a short distance away.
The stadium was built for the 1991 World Student Games and, for a time, it was regarded as the best athletics venue in the UK. But it has been overtaken by facilities in Birmingham and the Olympic Stadium in London, leading to claims it was never again going to attract a major athletics event.
Over the years, the venue has been home to other sports, including the Sheffield Eagles rugby league team and Rotherham United Football Club.
It is has also hosted music concerts from world famous stars including Michael Jackson and the Rolling Stones.