TOKYO: Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee, considered a medal contender for the Tokyo Olympics before being diagnosed with leukemia in February, said on Wednesday her treatment is proceeding smoothly but sometimes she feels her “heart might break”.
Ikee won six titles at last year’s Asian Games and also picked up two relay silvers to became the first female athlete to be named the Most Valuable Player at an Asian Game.
Her rich haul in the Jakarta pool propelled her onto the world stage and Ikee was expected to lead a new generation of Japanese swimmers at their home Games next year.
While announcing her diagnosis, the 18-year-old Ikee said she ‘couldn’t believe it’ and she has since been concentrating on treatment, although no details about her illness have been released.
Ikee’s coach has held out hopes that she could still compete in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which start in late July 2020, but she will miss the swimming world championships to be held in Gwangju in July.