Ikee Rikako: A Cancer survivor aiming at Olympics

Rikako was diagnosed with leukaemia in early 2019 and following treatment lasting 10 months, she was discharged from hospital. The 20-year-old returned to pool in August 2020 and secured a place in her country's Olympic trials in January this year.

Within days of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics in 4x100m medley relay event, Japanese swimmer Ikee Rikako, a cancer survivor, looks set to qualify in an individual event as well after clocking the fastest semi-final time in 50m freestyle in the trials.

"I feel really good, all things considered. I hope I can wrap up the meet on a positive note. I might be tired physically but my goal for this competition has been to empty the tank each and every time I swim," Rikako said after posting the quickest semi-final time of 24.87 seconds.

Rikako was the only swimmer to break the 25-second barrier and would need to go below 24.46 seconds in the final on Saturday to make the Olympic grade. Rikako has already qualified in the 4x100m medley and 4x100m freestyle races (both team events).

"Olympians never give up. Congratulations to cancer survivor Rikako Ikee for qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics only two years after being diagnosed with leukaemia. Can't wait to see you in Tokyo @rikakoikee," International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Thomas Bach had tweeted after she had qualified for the Olympics in 4x100m medley relay event last Sunday.

Rikako was diagnosed with leukaemia in early 2019 and following treatment lasting 10 months, she was discharged from hospital. The 20-year-old returned to pool in August 2020 and secured a place in her country's Olympic trials in January this year.

Rikako had come into limelight after winning six gold medals at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang. Her mesmerising speech on the occasion of one-year-to-go countdown for the rescheduled Games was telecast live the world over.