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Japan Olympic poster girl Ikee diagnosed with leukaemia

AFP  |  Tokyo 

Japan's swim Rikako Ikee, a poster girl for next year's Tokyo Olympics, has been diagnosed with leukaemia, the 18-year-old tweeted on Tuesday.

In a shock announcement, Ikee said: "After feeling unwell I returned in haste from and following tests I was diagnosed with I still can't believe it myself and I'm in a state of confusion." Ikee shot to fame at last year's Asian Games, where she captured a record six gold medals to fire a warning for the 2020 in her home city.

The teenage superstar, who holds a string of national records, has been tipped to push for gold on several fronts, in particular in the women's 100 metres butterfly. Ikee told fans she was determined to beat her after being forced to abandon her training camp in

"If treated properly it's a that can be beaten," said Ikee, who confirmed she will withdraw from the Japanese championships in April.

"I will devote myself to my treatment and strive to be able to show an even stronger " Ikee stole the headlines from giant Chinese swimmer Sun Yang at in as she finished with eight medals in total, a haul previously achieved only by North Korean shooter in 1982.

She would have gone into this year's world championships in as a strong favourite in the 100m fly, while also a threat in the 200m freestyle.

After her breakout performance in Jakarta, Ikee told AFP in an interview that she welcomed the pressure to produce at the Tokyo

"Pressure for me is something I thrive on," she said. "There will be a lot of Japanese fans cheering for me at the Tokyo in my home city -- maybe even some from overseas too -- and that's going to give me great strength."

"The more fans that come, the stronger I'll be," added Ikee. "When it comes to swimming, I just really hate to lose." Japanese officials were scheduled to hold a conference later on Tuesday.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, February 12 2019. 13:05 IST