Don Valley Stadium demolition work has started
Demolition work has started at Sheffield's Don Valley Stadium.
The venue, where Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill trained, was closed as part of cost-saving measures approved by the city council.
A section of the finishing line has been dug up by the demolition team and presented to Ennis-Hill as a memento.
The stadium was built in 1990 to host the 1991 World Student Games at a cost of £29m. Work to demolish it is expected to take six months.
The stadium has been replaced by a refurbished track in Woodbourn Road, run by Sheffield Hallam University.
The date for its demolition was announced on the same day that Sheffield City Council debated a 5,922-signature petition opposing the stadium's closure.
Calling on the council to save "an iconic landmark of Sheffield", the petition was raised by a group that claimed it would be able to run the stadium at no cost to the authority.
"Whilst that seemed great, they were never able to produce a plan to indicate how they would do this," Councillor Isobel Bowler said.
Knocking down a stadium is not a job involving finesse and as a crowbar slams into the joints of one of the 25,000 seats in the Don Valley you start to realise this place really is coming down.
Diggers are here and they tend to win arguments, so the campaigners who had hoped to keep the stadium open are left outside the fence taking pictures.
The mystery of a big hole cut in the track's finish line is solved when someone from the construction company tells me Jessica Ennis-Hill has now got it in her house.
Contractors are pulling the stadium down for nothing because they think they can make money from selling materials from the site. The council could not tell us how much the scrap will be worth.
It will take months, but the Don Valley Stadium won't be one for much longer and Sheffield's skyline will be changed forever.
Lee Rowbotham, from demolition firm Demex, said it was anticipated the work would be completed by June 2014.
He said much of the stadium would be recycled.
"All the waste materials come out first and that gets sorted in to type," he said. "All the timber and such will go for recycling.
"The scrap metal, which is quite a big portion of the building, will go to our parent group, CF Booth, who will process it and that will go back into the steel making companies.
"The clean hardcore will be crushed into a product and that will be left on site for re-use in future works when they develop the site."
A small section of the finishing line which Ennis-Hill crossed countless times in training has now found a new life at the athlete's home.
They said she visited the stadium last week and looked on as they removed part of the track across the lanes she favoured in training.