Sport Rikako Ikee wins again at Japan Swim Trials, set to compete on first day of Tokyo Olympics
Japan swimmer Ikee claims clean sweep but misses Olympic spot
Leukaemia survivor Rikako Ikee completed a clean sweep of four wins at Japan's Olympic swimming trials on Saturday -- but missed out on an individual place at the Tokyo Games. She had already secured her place in Japan's medley and 4x100m freestyle relay teams for the coronavirus-delayed Tokyo Games going into the final day of the trials, which doubled as Japan's national championships.Ikee, who only resumed training in March last year after being diagnosed with cancer in February 2019, won both the 50m butterfly and 50m freestyle to add to the two victories she claimed earlier this week in Tokyo.
Rikako Ikee, the Japanese swim star who spent 10 months hospitalized for leukemia in 2019, won her second event of her nation’s Olympic Trials and is now set to splash on the first full day of competition of the Tokyo Games.
Ikee won the 100m freestyle at trials, four days after winning the 100m butterfly. Her winning time in the 100m free on Thursday — 53.98 seconds — did not meet her federation’s automatic qualifying time to race the individual 100m free at the Olympics (53.31, the time required to make the 2019 World Championships final), but she is qualified for the 4x100m free relay.
“I’m happy to have come below 54 seconds, but I wanted a little faster time, honestly speaking,” Ikee said,. “This event was all about getting in the top four and bettering the required standard.”
Japan swimmer Ikee wins Olympic relay spot after leukemia
Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee said she "didn't know what had just happened" after qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics medley relay on Sunday, just two years after being diagnosed with leukaemia. Ikee, who only resumed training in March last year after being hospitalised for around 10 months, won the 100-metre butterfly race at Japan's Olympic trials in Tokyo in a time of 57.77 seconds. That was not enough to earn her an individual spot at the coronavirus-delayed Tokyo Games, but it did make her eligible for Japan's relay team, capping an incredible comeback for the 20-year-old.
The Olympic Opening Ceremony is July 23. Ikee is a prime candidate for a significant role (flag bearer, oath taker, cauldron lighter) if she takes part, though the world’s top swimmers often are absent if they’re competing on the first weekend of the Games.
The 4x100m free preliminary heats are the night of July 24. The eight-nation final is the morning of July 25. Japan’s best-ever Olympic finish in the event is fifth.
On Sunday at trials, Ikee won the 100m butterfly in 57.77 seconds, earning a medley relay spot. Like in the 100m free, no swimmer met the federation’s automatic qualifying time for an individual Olympic 100m fly place (57.10, the cutoff to make the 2019 Worlds final).
Ikee is also expected to swim the 50m freestyle later this week at trials.
"Olympics Never give up": Bach congratulates swimmer Ikee
Ioc-President Thomas Bach (67) The Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee has congratulated for qualifying for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. © Provided by sport1.de "Olymposics never give up": Bach congratulates swimmer Ikee Ioc-President Thomas Bach (67) has the Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee for qualifying for the Olympic Games in Tokyo (July 23th to 8th of August ) congratulated.
Ikee was a Tokyo Olympic medal contender before her February 2019 diagnosis. Upon being discharged from a hospital in December 2019, she said she hoped to qualify for the Olympics — the 2024 Olympics.
After the Tokyo Games were postponed by one year, Ikee held a lantern with the Olympic Flame in a one-year out event at the Olympic Stadium without spectators on July 23. She returned to competition last August.
“I think my swimming ability has returned to about the level in my first or second year of junior high school,” Ikee said last summer, according to a Kyodo News translation.
Then in December, she began floating the idea of qualifying for Tokyo, according to Japanese media, after clocking a competitive time in the 50m free.
Before her leukemia diagnosis, Ikee won the 100m fly at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships, the year’s major international meet, in a national record 56.08. She also took silver in the 200m free ahead of Katie Ledecky. She later earned six golds, including four in individual events, at the 2018 Asian Games.
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Ikee finished fifth in the 100m fly as a 16-year-old at the Rio Olympics.
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The Tokyo Olympics barred foreign fans. A ticket company won't offer full refunds. .
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