Swimming: Ikee books Olympic qualifiers spot after leukaemia treatment

Rikako Ikee was diagnosed in February 2019 and returned to action in August 2020.
Rikako Ikee was diagnosed in February 2019 and returned to action in August 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

Tokyo (Reuters) - Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee will compete in Olympic qualifiers in April after clinching a podium finish in her first 100m butterfly event since being treated for leukaemia.

Ikee, who was diagnosed in February 2019 and returned to action in August last year, finished in 59.44sec to win bronze at the Tokyo Open on Saturday.

The 20-year-old will now compete at the Japan Swim meet, the country's only Olympic-qualifying event before the Tokyo Games which were rescheduled to begin on July 23.

The Japanese Swimming Federation's Olympic qualifying bar stands at 57.10sec, while Rio 2016 finalist Ikee's national record is 56.08sec.

"I can't say that I'm aiming for it now," Ikee said when asked about her chances of competing at her home Olympics.

"When we start to get results that are world-class, we will think about it at that time."

Ikee also won the 50m butterfly race, a non-Olympic event, in 25.77sec.