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Friday, 13th April 2012
In Japan Sports News,

Oldest Olympian 'still improving' at the age of 71

Hiroshi Hoketsu made headlines around the world recently when Japan announced he would compete in the dressage event at the London 2012 Olympics, but despite being 71 the equestrian thinks he is still improving.

Having first competed in the Olympics in his hometown of Tokyo a staggering 48 years ago, Hoketsu will be 72 when this year's Games begin.

Yet the dressage competitor has no plans to retire and feels like he is still getting better, even if his memory does occasionally let him down.

"I can feel I am still improving, if only little by little. This has motivated me quite a lot to continue my equestrian career," he told AFP.

"I will go on as long as it is possible."

With the London games yet to get underway, Hoketsu is setting his sights on the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016, a feat that would make him the oldest ever Olympics competitor.

The current record is held by Oscar Swahn, a marksman from Sweden who took silver in the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp aged 72 years and ten months.

At the other end of the age spectrum, 17-year-old swimmer Kosuke Hagino has qualified for the Olympics while setting a new Japanese record in the 400m medley.

Written by Kimberley Homer

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Japan now has 60,000 centenarians (11th September 2015)
Japan marks 'Respect for Aged Day' (17th September 2012)