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Japanese swimming star Ikee diagnosed with leukemia

Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee, who won six titles at last year's Asian Games in Jakarta and was considered a strong medal contender for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, said on Tuesday she had been diagnosed with leukaemia.
The 18-year-old was named Japanese Swimmer of the Year last month after her record-breaking exploits in the Jakarta pool.
"I was feeling ill and urgently came home from Australia, underwent testing and the diagnosis was leukemia," Ikee wrote on Twitter. "I can't believe it. I'm in a state of confusion. But with treatment, this is a disease that can be cured."
The diagnosis will deprive the world junior 50-meter freestyle, 50-meter butterfly and 100-meter butterfly champion of the chance to race at the senior world championships in Gwangju, South Korea, later this year.
Ikee, who swam the fastest time in the world in the 100-meter butterfly and second fastest in the 50-meter butterfly last year, said she would miss Japan's national championships to focus on treatment.
"I am going to take some time off and focus on treatment and as soon as possible. I want to show an even stronger Rikako Ikee," she added.
Winning all six of her gold medals in record times in Jakarta propelled Ikee onto the world stage and made her a major name in Japan.
Ikee had been expected a strong contender for medals at Tokyo 2020 but must now focus on getting healthy before thoughts turn to the summer showpiece in 528 days' time.


© Thomson Reuters 2019.
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