Swimming: Leukaemia survivor Ikee adds two more titles at Japan championships


FILE PHOTO: Rikako Ikee of Japan reacts after winning the women's 100 metres butterfly final at the national swimming championships at Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo, Japan April 4, 2021, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN. THIS IMAGE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY, AN UNPROCESSED VERSION HAS BEEN PROVIDED SEPARATELY./File Photo

(Reuters) - Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee won the women's 50 metres freestyle and 50m butterfly events at the national championships on Saturday, less than eight months after she returned to competition following her recovery from leukaemia.

Ikee finished in 24.84 seconds in the 50m freestyle, missing the 24.46 seconds mark she needed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, scheduled to begin on July 23.

The 20-year-old had warmed up by winning the non-Olympic 50m butterfly with a time of 25.56 seconds.

She wrapped up the national championships with four titles.

On Thursday, she won the 100m freestyle after finishing in 53.98 seconds. She missed the 53.31 seconds needed to qualify for the individual 100m freestyle at the Olympics but booked her ticket for the 400m relay.

Ikee also won the 100m butterfly on Sunday, which secured her an Olympic spot in the 4x100 medley relay - unthinkable only months ago as she was returning to fitness after her cancer treatment.

Ikee, who won six gold medals at the 2018 Asian Games, was expected to be one of Japan's top medal hopefuls at the Olympics before she was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2019.

She battled back and returned to competition in August last year.

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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