Swimmer Ikee Qualifies for Tokyo Olympics after Leukemia


Tokyo, April 4 (Jiji Press)--Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee won the women's 100-meter butterfly in the national championships on Sunday, qualifying for a place in the 4x100 medley relay at the Tokyo Olympic Games, in a dramatic comeback from her battle with leukemia.

Ikee, 20, won the race in 57.77 seconds for her first title in the competition category in three years.

"I wasn't expecting to win the 100 meters at all. I was very glad to learn the result and I can't put (my feelings) into words," a tearful Ikee said after the race at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, the swimming venue for this summer's Tokyo Games. "I'm now very happy."

"I thought that no matter how grueling it is, hard work pays off," she also said.

Ikee took part in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics at age 16 and had since continued to show strong performances. But she was diagnosed with leukemia in February 2019 and spent about 10 months battling the disease at hospital.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press