Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee on Sunday certified for the Tokyo Olympics simply two years after she was recognized with leukemia.
She swam a time of 57.77 seconds within the 100-meter butterfly at Japan’s nationwide championships held on the new swimming venue for the Tokyo Olympics. That certified her for a spot within the medley relay.
She was overcome with tears within the water after the race, and will barely communicate out of the water later, sniffling and crying on the similar time. She slammed her left arm in opposition to the water when she realized she’d received.
“I used to be not anticipating to win the 100 meters in any respect, and I used to be feeling far much less assured than throughout the Olympic qualifiers 5 years in the past,” she stated.
“I assumed I wouldn’t be capable of win for a very long time. However I skilled laborious to win. And, in the long run, I got here into the race telling myself I’m again. And so I really feel that, even for those who undergo struggling and ache, your laborious work will at all times be rewarded.”
The 20-year-old Ikee returned to the pool a couple of yr in the past however had stated her purpose was solely to organize for the 2024 Olympics in Paris. She had downplayed her possibilities for her dwelling Olympics.
She would have been among the many favorites in a number of Olympic races in Tokyo races if she had not fallen in poor health and confronted setbacks.
“I needed to attempt to really feel true happiness simply being right here,” she added.
“My teammates cheered me on, sending me off (to the race). And so I’m now crammed with happiness.”
Ikee received six gold medals in 2018 on the Asian Video games in Jakarta, Indonesia, which included the 50 and 100-meter freestyle, and the 50 and 100-meter butterfly. She additionally received gold in two relays, and added two silvers.
Her time in profitable the 100-meter butterfly in Jakarta was 56.08 seconds, the quickest of the season. She was closing in on the world file held by Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden of 55.48. It stays the world-record time.
She completed sixth within the 100-meter butterfly within the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.