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Monday, 5th March 2012
In Japan Sports News,

70-year-old Japanese man qualifies for Olympics

A 70-year-old man has qualified for a place in the Japanese Olympics team ahead of the London 2012 Games this year.

Horse rider Hiroshi Hoketsu attained qualification after finishing in first place of the International Equestrian Federation's Asia-Oceania dressage rankings, AFP reported.

Hoketsu was the oldest Olympian at the last Games in Beijing and will be 71 by the time the London Games come around, increasing his record as the oldest Japanese Olympics competitor ever.

Speaking to the news agency, Azusa Kitano, a spokeswoman for the Japanese Equestrian Association (JEF), said: "We will make a formal decision on his selection as soon as possible. I understand he is willing to go."

Should the Japanese Equestrian Association choose him to represent his nation, it will be the third Olympics he has entered.

In the 1964 Tokyo Olympics Hoketsu came 40th in the showjumping event, while four years ago in Beijing he was part of the team that finished ninth. In the individual dressage competition he placed 35th.

The record-breaker was also taken to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics as a substitute, though he did not feature, while at the 1988 Seoul Games his horse had quarantine issues which forced him to retire.

Aged 67 years and four months when he starred in the Beijing Games, Hoketsu broke the previous Japanese record set by Kikuko Inoue, a grandmother who competed in the same event at the Olympics in Seoul. She was 63 years and nine months old.

The oldest Olympian in history was Swedish marksman Oscar Swahn, who won a silver shooting medal 88 years ago during the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp. He was 72 years and ten months old.

The dressage events will take place at the Greenwich Park venue between August 2nd and August 9th and 50 athletes from across the world will take part.

Written by Kimberley Homer

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