It was organised by Sheffield International Venues (SIV), which operates EIS Sheffield, and 18 other venues including Ponds Forge International Sports Centre and Don Valley Stadium, as a thank you to the athletes.
Nineteen-year-old table tennis player Liam Pitchford, from Chesterfield, who recently became England’s number one, said: “EIS Sheffield is a great facility and it has everything you need to be the very best at your sport.”
Super heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua, 22, said: “Without the amazing facilities I wouldn’t be where I am today. I walk along the corridor where Jess Ennis’ picture is in the SIV Hall of Champions and I want my picture to be the next one to go up.”
GB Wheelchair basketball player Maddie Thompson, 17, from Hope, Derbyshire, said: “I train every week at EIS Sheffield and it’s a great venue. The support they have given is fantastic and it has been really great to come together with the other athletes one last time before the Games.”
Twenty-one-year-old Nathan French, part of the GB Volleyball men’s squad, said: “I’ve been with GB Volleyball for six years, training and competing at EIS Sheffield, so it is fantastic to be here with the rest of the squad and other athletes from the different sports ahead of the Games. The support we have had from the venue has been brilliant and hopefully we can do everyone here proud.”
Addressing the athletes, coaches, physiotherapists and other support staff, Steve Brailey, chief executive of SIV, said: “One in seven athletes in the GB squad trains or has support from an SIV venue and we are proud to have played such an important part in so many athletes’ Olympic and Paralympic journeys. Even those not from Sheffield we still see as our own athletes and part of the SIV family that we have created at the English Institute of Sport Sheffield and Ponds Forge.
“SIV is committed to delivering first class facilities to help athletes achieve their Olympic dreams and this class of 2012 is on track to outperform any other Olympic year. We recognise the dedication and commitment shown day in day out in training and the performances at 2012 can only inspire more children and young people to get involved in sport. These athletes are ambassadors for their own sports and a nation of potential medal winners in the future.
“We wish everyone the best of luck for London 2012. We’ll all be watching from home and look forward to welcoming all the athletes back to Sheffield after London 2012.”