Ikee Finishes 7th in Women’s 50 Fly at Fukuoka Worlds

The Yomiuri SHimbun
Rikako Ikee walks from the pool after finishing seventh in the women’s 50-meter butterfly on Saturday in Fukuoka.

Rikako Ikee, who survived a battle with leukemia to return to competitive swimming, finished seventh in the women’s 50-meter butterfly at the World Aquatics Championships on Saturday in Fukuoka.

Ikee clocked 25.78 seconds to finish nearly a second behind Sarah Sjoestrom, who won her fifth straight gold in the event in 24.77.

The 23-year-old Ikee was competing at the world championships for the first time since 2017. She qualified for Japan’s team in four individual events, but only made the final in the 50 butterfly in her bid for a first global medal.

Her amazing comeback from the illness was an inspiration to sports fans around the world, and included making the Japanese team to the Tokyo Olympics, although only as a member of relay teams.

Japan has won two swimming medals in the meet. Daiya Seto won a bronze in the men’s 400 individual medley, and Tomoru Honda placed third in the men’s 200 butterfly.