Rikako Ikee, a leukemia survivor, and the Japanese women's 4×100 medley relay team finished eighth on the final day of the Tokyo Olympic swimming on Sunday, while the men set a new national record in finishing sixth in the corresponding men's event.
Ikee, who made a remarkable recovery to be able to compete in her home Games after being diagnosed with the form of blood cancer in February 2019, made her first final in her third relay appearance at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. She hit the water third for Japan, taking the butterfly leg.
Australia won in an Olympic record 3 minutes, 51.60 seconds, edging the United States by 0.13 seconds, with Canada finishing third. Japan's team of Anna Konishi, Kanako Watanabe, Ikee and Chihiro Igarashi clocked 3:58.12.
"Really a lot of things happened over the past five years and the Tokyo Olympics was something that I gave up on at one point, but I feel really happy to have been able to swim as a relay member in the final," said Ikee, who, like her teammates, was in tears after the race.
"It's not a result I alone produced, but coming this far while not being sure if I can make the Games, the Games going ahead safely and getting to return (to the Olympics) here, I'm really happy."
The United States set a men's 4×100 medley relay world record in 3:26.78, pipping Great Britain by 0.73. Italy came third, while Japan's team of Ryosuke Irie, Ryuya Mura, Naoki Mizunuma and Katsumi Nakamura touched in 3:29.91.
"I've tried to enjoy the atmosphere for one last time," said Irie, the silver medalist in the 200 backstroke and bronze medalist in the 100 backstroke at the 2012 London Games.
"It's been an honor to have swum the first leg in the relay since 2012 and I'm happy to have competed in the final in Tokyo."
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