World champion Letsche wins Sky Sports award

Rachael Letsche
Rachael Letsche

Wakefield Gym Club star Rachael Letsche has been named Sky Sports’ Sportswoman of the Month after she brought the curtain down on a superb career with a sensational victory in the World Tumbling Championships, in Florida.

Letsche, 23, travelled to Daytona Beach looking to end her tumbling career on a high but she looked to be struggling when she qualified for the senior women’s final in eighth place.

However, the final, in which the current world champion from China and the reigning European champion were competing, proved to be one of the most dramatic in recent years.

The chances of a Great Britain victory may have looked slim but Letsche, from St Helens, produced a brilliant routine in the first round that propelled her to second place with one tumble remaining.

She then matched that performance with another brilliant tumble in the final round that put the pressure on reigning world champion Lingxi Chen, from China.

That pressure proved too much and a stumble in Chen’s routine handed the title to Letsche, who became the first gymnast from outside the Eastern Bloc and China to win the crown.

Letsche, who announced her retirement from tumbling after the victory, was named Sky Sports’ Sportswoman of the Month for November, seeing-off competition from England footballer Karen Carney, PGA Tour Championship winner Lydia Ko and multiple medal-winning boxer Katie Taylor.

She has also been invited to the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards on Sunday.