Japanese Swimmer Named First Female MVP

Japanese Swimmer Named First Female MVP
Japanese Swimmer Named First Female MVP

Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee became the first female athlete to be named the Most Valuable Player at an Asian Games on Sunday after the teenager scooped an unprecedented six gold medals in the Jakarta pool.

Only North Korean shooter So Gin-man, who won seven gold and a silver at New Delhi in 1982, has won more gold at one Asian Games but the 18-year-old Ikee also picked up two relay silvers to match Gin-man’s record tally of eight medals, Reuters reported.

All the six golds were achieved in the games record times and Ikee’s achievement was made all the more remarkable as she arrived in Jakarta immediately after the Pan Pacific Championships, where she won a gold, two silvers and a bronze.

Ikee, whose gold medal haul is the most for a female athlete at a single edition of the games, was the unanimous choice for the most valuable player award, the Olympic Council of Asia said on the final day of the multi-sport event on Sunday.

“I had heard that for a while there was no MVP award and I felt very sad about that, but there was a re-evaluation and I am very honored to be able to receive such a wonderful award,” Ikee said after picking up her trophy and a cheque for $50,000.

Ikee became the fourth Japanese athlete to win the award since its inception at the 1998 Bangkok Games and can now be expected to shoulder a huge burden of expectations when Tokyo hosts the Olympics in two years’ time.

Japan finished the 18th Asian Games with 75 gold, 56 silver and 74 bronze for a total haul of 205 medals, making it the first time the nation secured second place on the medals table since the country hosted the regional gathering at Hiroshima in 1994.

China topped the overall medals table with 289, 132 of them gold.

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