December 17, 2019 / 10:48 AM / 2 months ago

Swimming-Japan's Ikee leaves hospital, aiming for Paris 2024

TOKYO, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee, who was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this year, said on Tuesday that she has been discharged from hospital and will be aiming to compete and win medals at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Ikee sprang onto the world stage at last year's Asian Games at the age of 18, winning a record six gold medals in the pool and setting the year's fastest time in the world in the 100m butterfly.

A big medal hope for hosts Japan for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Ikee was then diagnosed with leukemia in February.

"Finally, I get out of hospital," she wrote on Twitter.

"It has been hard, long days but I have lots of encouragement and now want to go back to my life."

Ikee, whose gold medal haul was the most for a female athlete at a single Asian Games, also picked up two relay silvers to match North Korean shooter So Gin Man's record tally of eight medals.

Ikee said she is still awaiting approval from her doctors to begin training in the water but that she has been doing basic training already.

"I will aim for Paris 2024 and I will work hard to get medals there," the 19-year-old wrote.

Ikee holds Japanese national records over 50, 100 and 200 metres in freestyle, as well as 50 and 100 metres in butterfly and was named Japanese Swimmer of the Year in 2018. (Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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