Tokyo Olympics 2020: Do not overhype Rikako Ikee’s return, pleads Japan teammate Ryosuke Irie

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Do not overhype Rikako Ikee’s return, pleads Japan teammate Ryosuke Irie

Ikee clinched a spot in Japan’s medley relay workforce on the trials for the coronavirus-postponed Tokyo Video games on Sunday, simply two years after being recognized with leukaemia.

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Don't overhype Rikako Ikee's return, pleads Japan teammate Ryosuke Irie

Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee celebrates after successful the ladies’s 100m butterfly on the Japan’s nationwide championships at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Kyodo Information through AP Picture

Tokyo: Leukaemia survivor Rikako Ikee should put her well being first after qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics, Japan swimming teammate Ryosuke Irie mentioned on Monday, warning the media to not overdo the hype.

Ikee clinched a spot in Japan’s medley relay workforce on the trials for the coronavirus -postponed Tokyo Video games on Sunday, simply two years after being recognized with leukaemia.

The information was rapturously obtained in Japan and abroad, with Worldwide Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe each tweeting their congratulations.

However Japanese teammate Irie warned followers to not put an excessive amount of strain on the 20-year-old — who solely returned to coaching simply over a 12 months in the past — and cautioned the media towards making her the poster woman for the Video games.

“I used to be so shocked and completely satisfied for her, and I felt how laborious she will need to have labored to get there,” mentioned Irie, who certified for his fourth straight Video games on Monday by successful the lads’s 100-metre backstroke in a time of 53.13 seconds.

“However you may’t let your guard down,” he mentioned. “She has to take care of her well being to begin with. It could make me completely satisfied if the media did not hype her up an excessive amount of.”

Ikee was in tears after successful the 100m butterfly on Sunday on the venue the place the Tokyo Video games shall be held this summer time.

Her time of 57.77 was not sufficient to clinch a spot within the particular person occasion on the Video games, but it surely did make her eligible for Japan’s medley relay workforce.

Ikee — who was named MVP of the 2018 Asian Video games after claiming six golds and two silvers — was hospitalised for round 10 months after being recognized with leukaemia in February 2019.

She resumed coaching in March final 12 months, earlier than returning to competitors in August.

Ikee is one among a number of younger swimmers who’ve already clinched their place in Japan’s Olympic workforce, and Irie, 31, was completely satisfied to hitch them on Monday.

“I am very proud to be amongst so many nice younger athletes,” mentioned Irie, who received two silvers and one bronze on the 2012 London Video games.

“I feel I am elevating the common age a bit by being there, however I feel I will help the younger athletes with my expertise.”

Katsuhiro Matsumoto joined Irie in Japan’s workforce by successful the lads’s 200m freestyle in a time of 1:44.65 — updating his personal Japanese report.

Matsumoto comfortably bested Konosuke Yanagimoto, Kosuke Hagino and Kotaro Takahashi, who all certified for Japan’s 4×200 freestyle relay workforce.

“I feel I confirmed what I used to be all about,” mentioned Matsumoto, who took silver on the 2019 world championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

“However occasions are simply going to get sooner on the Olympics, so I am unable to be happy with the extent I am at. I nonetheless have room to enhance.”

Within the day’s different ultimate, Kanako Watanabe and Reona Aoki each certified for an Olympic spot within the ladies’s 100m breaststroke.

Watanabe, a former 200m breaststroke world champion, received the race in 1:06.51, adopted by Aoki in 1:06.56.

 

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