Japanese Olympian Who Battled Leukemia For Tokyo Aims To Win Big At Paris Olympics 2024

Published 10/09/2021, 2:44 AM EDT


Ikee Rikako is a Japanese swimmer, who competes in the 50m freestyle and 100-meter butterfly events. The 21-year-old has bagged a number of accolades over the course of her career. However, earlier this year, she fell ill during a three-week training camp that was held in Australia.

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As her health deteriorated, she decided to fly back to Japan and get her medical check-up done. Notably, in February, she disclosed her diagnosis to the world via her social media platform. The youngster revealed that she was diagnosed with leukemia.

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Ikee Rikako at the national collegiate championships

Recently, the Japanese swimmer appeared for an interview, sharing words of inspiration with the audience. She said, “Last year here I finished fourth, and it was frustrating. So I wanted to win it this year no matter what. I wasn’t very sharp and I knew it would come down to the touch but I touched it out in the end. My time wasn’t great but the most important thing is I won. That was my goal for this competition and I’m excited I got it done.”

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Clocking an incredible time of 25.02 seconds was not satisfactory for her. It had only been two years since her diagnosis, but, the fighter did not stop. Even though she was not able to perform for those two years, having the zeal to achieve a medal made her train harder and work actively on her health to rise to glory again.

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The Japanese international is a true source of inspiration

Currently, she is the national record holder in the 50-meter freestyle and the 100-meter butterfly. Moreover, she is also a junior world record holder in the 50-meter freestyle and 50-meter butterfly long-course events, and the 50- and 100-meter butterfly, and 100-meter individual medley in short course. Furthermore, in 2018, the Japanese star swimmer was awarded as the most valuable player at the Asian Games.

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Being in her college 3rd year, she participated at the university level too. She geared up for her college championships in the month of August and won the 200 freestyle in an individual event against rival Chuo University.

Rikako has been making notable efforts towards reaching her target. She is a true inspiration to the whole world. Hence, we’re sure that she will definitely secure a place on the podium in Paris with so much perseverance in her approach.

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Divya Chaturvedi

125 articles

Divya Chaturvedi is a US Sports writer at EssentiallySports, currently pursuing her Undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Delhi. She's also an internationally recognized athlete, specializing in Shot Put and Discus. Representing India at the International Children's Games in Australia has been one of the biggest feats in her endeavor so far.

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