19-year-old Japanese swimming champion Rikako Ikee may not be aiming to compete at the 2020 Olympic Games postponed to July 2021 in her home nation, but the teen is still getting involved in the mega international sporting event.
Ikee is still in rehabilitation mode after having spent nearly a year in the hospital undergoing treatments for acute lymphocytic leukemia. Just months after having earned the first-ever MVP title at an Asian Games in 2018, Ikee revealed her diagnosis in February of 2019 and was only released from the hospital in December of that year after intense chemotherapy treatments.
Ikee will reportedly be featured in a one-year Tokyo Olympic countdown event on July 23rd, expected to address Olympic athletes in a keynote speech. The presentation will be a closed-door event due to ongoing coronavirus concerns. The National Stadium in Tokyo, the Olympics’ main venue for the 2020 Summer Games, will host the countdown event. (Japan Times)
Last month SwimSwam conducted an exclusive interview with Ikee, who owns 11 individual Japanese national records. She confirmed that she has changed coaches to now train under Isamu Nishizaki, a coach at Renaissance. Nishizaki joined Renaissance in 2000 and served as the Japanese National Team coach at the 2015 Junior Pan Pacific Championships.