IOC chief applauds cancer survivor swimmer for qualifying for Tokyo

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach has congratulated cancer survivor Japanese swimming icon Rikako Ikee after she qualified for her country’s 4x100m medley relay team for the Tokyo Olympics.

“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,” Bach tweeted late on Sunday.

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

Ikee 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.

The Japanese swimmer emerged triumphant in women’s 100m butterfly in the trials on Sunday but her time of 57.77 seconds fell short of helping her secure a place in the individual event. However, it was good enough to help Ikee make the 4×100 medley relay team.

“I can’t begin to describe how happy I felt (after securing an Olympic berth). At that moment, I remembered everything I had to go through to get here,” Ikee told the Olympic Channel.