Swimming

Swimmer Rikako Ikee to return to competition after leukaemia battle

Japanese swimming star Rikako Ikee has registered for a competition in Tokyo this month, her first since her shock diagnosis with leukaemia last year, local media reported yesterday.

The 20-year-old was a strong favourite for the 100m butterfly gold at her home Olympic Games before revealing last year that she had been diagnosed with leukaemia.

After being hospitalised for 10 months, she was discharged last December and resumed training in March.

Public broadcaster NHK and Kyodo News said yesterday that Ikee has registered for a 50m freestyle race organised by the Tokyo Swimming Association on Aug 29.

Ikee , who won six titles at the 2018 Asian Games, has not said if she would reconsider competing in next year's Olympics, following its postponement due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

But she played a role at a subdued year-to-go ceremony for the postponed Olympics last month, urging disheartened athletes not to lose faith.

"Think of the coming year not simply as a one-year postponement, but a plus-one," she said.

"To overcome adversity, what we need is hope, a flame of hope... glowing in the distance allows us to keep trying, to keep moving forward, no matter how hard it is." - AFP

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