Japan’s Rikako Ikee, who this year won a place on Japan’s Olympic swim team about two years after being diagnosed with leukemia, on Friday rejected social media messages calling for her to quit the Tokyo Games or oppose them.
“Even if you want me to oppose (holding the Olympics), nothing I say will change anything,” she said.
Taking to social media platform Twitter, Ikee expressed sympathy with those opposed to holding this summer’s Tokyo Olympics during a pandemic.
“We athletes have, of course, been working hard in order to take part in the Olympics, but I think it is natural that many are calling for the games’ cancellation due to the coronavirus pandemic,” the 20-year-old wrote.
“I share your desire to emerge from this darkness as quickly as possible, but to put that burden on the shoulders of individual athletes is very tough,” she tweeted.
Ikee reminded readers of her own life-threatening health concerns.
“I have a chronic illness, and whether the games are held or not, I live every day with the anxiety of possibly (being infected with the coronavirus and) becoming seriously ill,” she said.
“Myself and other athletes will accept what happens, whether the Olympics take place or not. And, of course, I will work my hardest if it goes forward. If it doesn’t, I’ll do my best for the next one.”
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