Pan Pacific Champion Rikako Ikee Diagnosed With Leukemia

Japanese superstar and Tokyo 2020 medal hope Rikako Ikee has been diagnosed with leukemia, per a tweet published by the 18-year-old today, February 12th.

The multiple national record holder and 2018 Asian Games MVP stated, “I still can’t believe it and am in a state of confusion. But it’s also a disease that can be fully cured if treated properly.”

According to Masaaki Yoshida, a vice chairman with her corporate sponsor Renaissance, Ikee is now hospitalized and doctors believe they have discovered the disease at its early stages. (Japan Times)

Ikee had been in Australia training alongside Brit Alys Thomas and Aussie Emma McKeon, but apparently cut that camp short and returned to Japan when the leukemia diagnosis was discovered. Her coach Jiro Miki said Ikee appeared to be fatigued and he said he ‘had never seen her breathing as heavily as that’ while training down under.

“We took her to a local hospital to check her blood and heart but decided to return to Japan as quickly as possible to undergo further tests,” Miki stated. “But as for her motivation to beat this disease, I can only bow my head at her determination.”

As for immediate plans, “I will rest a little and dedicate myself to treatment,” Ikee said. “I will strive to show you an even stronger version of myself. Thank you for your encouragement and warm thoughts.”

Ikee was poised to take multiple titles at this April’s Japanese Championships, the qualifying meet for the 2019 FINA World Championships. However, she will instead be undergoing treatment.

“I’m utterly taken back,” said Yasuhiro Yamashita, the Japanese Olympic Committee’s head of development. “She still has great potential, an athlete who could power the world of Japanese sports. The first priority is thoroughly treating this disease.” (Japan Times)

Her coach, Jiro Miki said Tokyo 2020 was not entirely out of the question, but Japan Swimming Federation Vice Chairman Koji Ueno said, “We’re not considering any special (qualifying) exemptions for her.” (Japan Times)

“I’m told we wouldn’t have been able to discover the disease in ordinary circumstances,” Ueno said. “We were able to find her irregularities because she was swimming. In that sense, we were able to find the disease early.”

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5 years ago

I wonder if she was exposed to radiation after fukushima?

Reply to  Snarky
5 years ago

all cancers can’t be attributed to Nuclear radiations ….even in Japan . There can be a multitude of hidden causes but its possible .

SUM Ting Wong
5 years ago

Japan has a national health system &.treatment will be largely free . A recent study on the costs to the govt is quite satisfied the upswing in mainly more cases as the population older ppl has been contained by cost effective measures.

The only study pertaining to younger ppl is if they should be treated as children or young adults … It was concluded that it is better to be on the children’s regimen . However let’s hope this case publicity leads to more 17-24 year old specific facilities &.attitudes in care . They won’t want tg o be visited by clowns nor play MahJong with 70 year olds .( as lovely as they may be ).

5 years ago

Prayers going up for a speedy and full recovery!

5 years ago

Prayers for a complete cure and speedy recovery!!

5 years ago

Ah terrible news…glad they caught it early. Wishing her a speedy recovery!!!!

5 years ago

Absolutely heartbreaking. Best of luck

Coach Mary
5 years ago

Can we get an address to send a card?

Reply to  Coach Mary
5 years ago

Renaissance Kameido
Kameido 2-1-1, Taito-ku, Tokyo 136-0071

No idea whether they’ll pass it on, though.

Reply to  Bachstelze
5 years ago

Oh, never mind, I just saw she has a real management company now, so

Rikako Ikee Management Office
JEB Co., Ltd.
Sumitomo Hamamatsucho Building 9F
Hamamatsucho 1-18-16, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0013

Should definitely reach her there.

Reply to  Coach Mary
5 years ago

This is very nice 🙂

5 years ago

How awful – Another to add to the constant supply of sad news at the moment. Glad Rikako is dedicating herself to treatment; Everything else really is irrelevant in a situation like this. We’ll all have you in our thoughts and be hoping for a speedy return to health.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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