• Kyodo


Swimming star Rikako Ikee vowed Saturday to make her presence felt at the Tokyo Olympics this summer after she dramatically earned her spot on Japan’s team this month as she continues her recovery from leukemia.

The 20-year-old, diagnosed with the disease in February 2019, stunned the world by winning all four events she entered at Japan’s eight-day national championships that wrapped up last Saturday in Tokyo. She captured the 50— and 100-meter in both butterfly and freestyles to earn spots on two Olympic relay teams.

“I’ll give my best to prove to the world that Rikako Ikee is back,” she said during a send-off ceremony at Nihon University.

“I’m eager to know how much I can cut off my times. I want to swim races where I dominate the field, because I’m confident I can go faster.”

Ikee only returned to competition last August and had publicly said her aim was to win a medal at the 2024 Paris Olympics, but that was prior to her breathtaking performance at the nationals.

The national team held an Olympic training camp that ended Thursday, where Ikee had a chance to interact with her peers.

“It felt like we’re at a time of generational change. I want to be the kind of athlete who can lead others,” Ikee said.

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