Melbourne, April 21: The Australian city of Melbourne has been named the world’s best sporting city of the past decade, beating London, New York, Tokyo, Berlin and Sydney to the crown.
Melbourne won three out of 14 categories at the 2016 Ultimate Sports City awards in Switzerland on Wednesday, including the title of ‘Sports City of the Decade’.
Melbourne, long touted as Australia’s sporting capital, also took out gongs for best sporting city for its size and best venues.
Since 2006, Melbourne has held the Commonwealth Games, FINA World Swimming Championships, AFC Asian Cup, ICC cricket World Cup, the annual Australian Open tennis tournament, Formula 1 Grand Prix and more recently the pre-season tours from football giants Real Madrid and Liverpool.
Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews said Melbourne’s combination of world-class events and spectacular venues – such as the 100,000-seat Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) – had created a sporting city “simply without peer”.
“Now it’s recognized that Melbourne has been unrivalled for the past decade, and the future is just as exciting,” Andrews said in a statement on Thursday.
However, it wasn’t all good news for the Victorian government with Melbourne relinquishing its title for best major events strategy to the New Zealand city of Auckland.
Melbourne also fell short of becoming the best current sports city, which was claimed by New York.
Overall, Melbourne was shortlisted for eight categories.
Victoria’s sport minister, John Eren, said the win capped off a glorious golden era for the city, but the government wouldn’t rest on its laurels.
“The eyes of the sporting world are on Melbourne all-year round. We have all the top-class events, and we want more of them,” Eren said.
“Whether it’s a Formula 1 Grand Prix, a tennis Grand Slam, the world’s best spring racing carnival or a one-off blockbuster at the MCG, Melbourne is at the top of the bucket list of sports fans right around the globe.”