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Leicester named UK's sporting capital

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Leicester has been named as the UK's Greatest Sporting City for 2016.

The city is home to 10-time English champions Leicester Tigers; Leicester City, who won football’s Premier League for the first time last season; Leicester Riders, who landed basketball’s BBL Trophy, Leicestershire County Cricket Club, who are chasing promotion to Division One of the County Championship, and Leicester Hockey Club, one of the country’s oldest and most successful women’s hockey clubs.
All have combined to propel Leicester to the top of the pile of 49 cities and towns across the UK, according to research by ESPN and the University of Bath.
Leicester climbed 17 places to finish ahead of last year’s winner Manchester with London in third place, Liverpool fourth and Leeds completing the top five. The city earned maximum scores in success, matchday atmosphere, local talent, community and social.
Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill said: "This has always been a sporting city, with great local support for all of our teams and sportspeople, and it is good to see that status earning recognition from a wider audience.
"Our neighbours at Leicester City have obviously enjoyed a memorable year and all of the city's sports have been extremely proud of each other's achievements in representing this part of the country in major competitions in the UK and further afield.
"At Tigers, we have enjoyed consistent success over very many years backed by a very committed and loyal support. It is always our ambition to be at the forefront of our sport while also recognising and cheering the successes for our teams and sportspeople across the county."
Wes Morgan, the Leicester City captain, said: "To see 250,000 people turn out for our Premier League trophy parade was a moment I and every person there will never forget and I know the pride the people of Leicester showed at our title win extends across the city's rugby, cricket and basketball teams too.
"Here at the football club, I know there are lads who regularly attend Tigers games and we often see players from the Foxes and Riders at King Power Stadium, which shows what a brilliant sporting city this is.”
Wasim Khan, Leicestershire County Cricket Club chief executive, added: " The sporting family in Leicester has some of the most passionate and loyal collective fans in the country and this recognition is for them as much as the clubs themselves."
City mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: " We're obviously enormously proud of our football club, but Leicester is also home to one of England's most successful rugby clubs, the country's oldest basketball club, an ambitious cricket club, and a very successful women's hockey club.
"I think it's fair to say that, when it comes to sport, Leicester  - a city of just 330,000 people - enjoys punching above its weight. Being recognised as the best place in the country to be a fan is a huge accolade, so I am delighted that ESPN's research has confirmed Leicester as the UK's Greatest Sporting City."
Click here for more information on the research.