Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee was named the Olympic Council of Asia’s Most Valuable Player at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang by the OCA on Sunday.
Ikee, 18, won six gold and two silver medals at the GBK Aquatic Centre in Jakarta to become the first female athlete in any sport to win six gold medals at a single Asian Games.
With eight medals in total, Ikee equalled the record medal haul in a single Asian Games held by North Korean shooter So Gin-man at the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi, India.
She also became the first female winner of the MVP award, which the OCA introduced at the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok, Thailand.
Three swimmers had won the award previously: Kosuke Kitajima (Japan) in 2002, Park Tae-hwan (Republic of Korea) in 2006 and Kosuke Hagino (Japan) in 2014.
The Chairman of the OCA MVP Award Selection Committee, Raja Randhir Singh, said: “The selection panel was unanimous in its decision to award the OCA MVP Trophy for the 18th Asian Games to the athlete Rikako Ikee of Japan.
“There have been some remarkable performances by several athletes in different sports in Jakarta and Palembang but the achievements of Rikako Ikee really stood out and impressed all members of the panel.
“On behalf of the OCA I would like to congratulate Miss Ikee on her record-breaking achievements. She is not only the first female athlete to win six gold medals at a single edition of the Asian Games but also the first female winner of our OCA MVP Award.
“We wish Miss Ikee further success in her swimming career. The OCA is confident that Miss Ikee – and all our champions here at the 18th Asian Games – will show the ‘Energy of Asia’ at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 and bring further glory to their flag, their country or region and to the continent of Asia.”
The winner receives the OCA MVP Trophy and US$50,000 in prize money.
Ikee is the fourth Japanese athlete to win the prize in six editions.