Swimmer Ikee Announces Leukemia Diagnosis

Swimmer Ikee announces leukemia diagnosis

Japanese swimming star Rikako Ikee has announced that she has been diagnosed with leukemia.

The 18-year-old swimmer tweeted on Tuesday that tests confirmed she has the disease. Ikee said she will concentrate on making a full recovery so that she can come back even stronger.

Ikee last month began training in Australia, but returned to Japan after complaining of poor health. She is now hospitalized.

Japan Swimming Federation Vice Chairman Koji Ueno told a news conference on Tuesday that more time will be needed for him to give details.

Ueno said he was moved by Ikee's determination to fight the disease.

He added that she may have a difficult path but that he hopes people will wait and see so that she can take part in qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Ikee was training in the Gold Coast from January 18th with her coach Jiro Miki.

Miki said he noticed Ikee breathing heavily for the first time, and that after she was checked at a local hospital, doctors there recommended further tests.

He said he's shocked by the diagnosis, but believes Ikee will become stronger through fighting the disease.
Miki also said he will continue to support Ikee mentally and in other aspects, as she could still compete in the Tokyo Games.

Ikee holds Japan's national records for the women's 100-meter butterfly and several other events.