Ikee Makes 1st Public Appearance since Leukemia Diagnosis


Tokyo, Sept. 6 (Jiji Press)--Prominent Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee, 19, on Friday appeared in public for the first time since she disclosed her diagnosis with leukemia Feb. 12.

Ikee, still under treatment for the disease, visited the Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center to cheer on her peer swimmers of Nihon University competing at the national intercollege swimming championship.

Wearing a blue T-shirt and a surgical mask, Ikee yelled words of encouragement with a megaphone in her hand. In spring, she enrolled in the university's College of Sports Sciences and joined the swimming club.

"I was pleased to see her cheer for the swimmers. But I think she would be with us here (without the disease)," said Suzuka Hasegawa, senior to Ikee in the club. They graduated from the same high school.

Ikee was able to leave hospital temporarily and visit the swimming center for the event thanks to her good condition, informed sources said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press