Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee was awarded the OCA MVP award at the 18th Asian Games.Games News
Date : 02 Sep 2018
Jakarta, Indonesia, September 2, 2018: Japan’s record-breaking teenage swimmer Rikako Ikee became the first female athlete to be awarded the Olympic Council of Asia MVP award for the best performer at the 18th Asian Games.
The 18-year-old won a staggering total of eight medals, including six golds, in a series of brilliant performances at the GBK Aquatic Center to be the standout competitor at the 18th Asian Games.
She went home to Tokyo at the end of the swimming competition but returned to Jakarta before Sunday’s closing ceremony to receive her trophy and a cheque for US$50,000 at a special presentation at the Main Press Center.
“I’m so happy to win this beautiful award,” she said.
“I was actually shocked when I heard the OCA was considering me for the MVP award and I am so grateful to win this award.”
Ikee made the job of the judges that decided the award easy by producing one of the most dominant displays ever seen at an Asian Games.
She won four individual titles in 50 metres freestyle, 100m freestyle, 50m butterfly and 100m butterfly as well as helping Japan win two relay golds. In addition to all her golds, she also won two silver medals in relays.
Her tally of eight medals equalled the all-time record for the most medals won at a single Asian Games set by DPR Korea shooter So Gin Man, at Delhi in 1982.
Ikee became the first woman to win six gold medals at a single Games and broke the Asian Games record in each of her six victories.
With the 2020 Olympics being held in Tokyo, her stunning performances in Indonesia ensures she will be one of the host-nation’s brightest hopes for gold but said she wasn’t putting any pressure on herself.
“The next two years may be short or may be long but I know what I need to do,” she told the assembled media.
“With the Olympics being in my home country I will just try to do my best performance.”
The Asian Games MVP award was first awarded in 1998 with Japanese track and field sprinter Koji Ito the inaugural recipient, while the last four winners all won Olympic gold.
Japanese breaststroker Kosuke Kitajima won the award in 2002 then four Olympic golds. In 2006, Republic of Korea freestyler Park Tae-hwan won the MVP two years before striking gold in Beijing.
The 2010 winner, Chinese badminton player Lin Dan, won two Olympic titles in 2008 and 2012 while the 2014 MVP, Japanese swimmer Kosuke Hagino, won the 400m individual medley gold at Rio.
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