Leukaemia survivor Rikako Ikee clinches Olympic spot

Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee said she "didn't know what had just happened" after qualifying for a Tokyo Olympics medley relay yesterday, just two years after being diagnosed with leukaemia.

Ikee, who resumed training only in March last year after being hospitalised for around 10 months, won the 100m butterfly at Japan's Olympic trials in Tokyo in 57.77secs.

That was not enough to meet the 57.10 cut-off for an individual spot at the coronavirus-delayed Tokyo Games, but it did make her eligible for the relay team, capping an incredible comeback for the 20-year-old.

"I was really happy but also really surprised," said Ikee, who was in tears as she addressed the crowd after the race.

"I didn't know what had just happened. It was a feeling I had never experienced before."

Ikee had downplayed her chances of appearing at the Tokyo Games after resuming racing in August last year, claiming she was focused on Paris 2024 instead.

Ikee, who was named MVP of the 2018 Asian Games after claiming six golds and two silvers in Indonesia, will have other chances to clinch an individual Olympic spot this week in the 50m and 100m freestyle. - AFP