Japan swim queen Ikee leaves leukaemia hospital

Tokyo (AFP) –


Japanese swimming hope Rikako Ikee, who was diagnosed with leukaemia earlier this year, said Tuesday she had been discharged from hospital and would aim to compete at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The 19-year-old poster girl for next year's Tokyo Olympics revealed in February that she had been diagnosed with leukaemia after experiencing problems during a training camp in Australia.

"I had been hospitalised since February, but I was able to leave the hospital after about 10 months," Ikee wrote in a handwritten message posted on her Twitter account.

"It was a long and hard time," Ikee said.

"As for the Olympics, I want to work hard aiming to compete at the 2024 Paris Olympics and win a medal," she added.

According to local media, she left the hospital earlier this month and has given up competing at the Tokyo Games.

She will continue her treatment by making hospital visits, public broadcaster NHK said, quoting her management agency.

Ikee said in the message that while consulting with her doctor, she plans to start training in water "once it's possible."

Japan's swim queen would have been a strong favourite to win 2020 Olympic gold in the 100 metres butterfly and a threat in the 200m freestyle in her home city.

Ikee shot to fame at last year's Asian Games where she won a record six gold medals.

The news of her diagnosis sent shockwaves around the sport and well-wishes flooded in for Ikee, who said in March she still hoped to compete at the 2020 Games.