Meet Rikako Ikee - six-time Asian Games champ and the face of Tokyo 2020

Japanese teenage swimmer scooped a record haul of titles for a woman at a single Asian Games in Jakarta

Before the 2018 Asian Games, swimmer Rikako Ikee was already being touted as the face of Tokyo 2020.

Born in 2000, Ikee qualified for four individual events at Rio 2016 before winning four titles at the 2016 Asian Championships.

And she has made herself the centre of attention ahead of the Olympic Games with a record SIX titles at this week's Asian Games in Jakarta.

Rikako Ikee celebrates victory in the 50m freestyle for her sixth title at the Asian Games in Jakarta


Ikee came to attention at the 2015 World Junior Championships with victory in the 50m and 100m butterfly.

She competed in no fewer than seven events at Rio - four individual and three relay - but didn't come away with a medal.

Ikee won her 100 fly semi-final in a new national record but, despite going even faster in the final, could only finish fifth behind Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom who won in a new world record.

Three months later in her hometown of Tokyo, Ikee announced herself as a sprinter of serious ability with four wins at the Asian Championships.

She then retained her two butterfly titles at the 2017 World Juniors and claimed the 50m freestyle crown.

Ikee has gone from strength to strength this year, winning the 100m butterfly at last week's Pan Pacific Championships - again in Tokyo - in a world lead time.

The 18-year-old also beat the great Katie Ledecky in the 200m freestyle, taking second behind Canada's Taylor Ruck in a new Asian record.


Those world class performances in Tokyo meant much was expected of Ikee at the Asian Games in Jakarta.

She did not disappoint.

Ikee led off Japan's 4x100m freestyle relay team with 53.60 seconds, a new Games record, as they edged out China for victory on Sunday.

Monday saw her claim two more Games records, winning the 50 fly and 100 free in the space of half an hour.

A fourth gold medal and a fourth Games record followed in Tuesday's 100 fly, but Ikee had to settle for second in the 4x200m freestyle relay behind China.

After a day off, she returned to winning ways in the Thursday's 4x100m medley relay.

And then on Friday, Ikee completed a memorable week with victory in the 50m freestyle in yet another Games best.

She is the first woman to win six titles at a single Asian Games, sending her profile into orbit.


Teenage swimmers excelling at Olympic Games are not new, but few have had the hopes of the host nation resting on their shoulders.

Ikee will have to handle that expectation as well as improve in order to beat the best swimmers in the world.

"The next Olympics will be held in Japan, so I will focus only on winning. There are a lot of faster swimmers in the world, so I will focus on my daily training to win."- Rikako Ikee

With just under two years to go, time is on her side and she has the happy knack of producing her best swims in the Japanese capital.

Roll on 2020!


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