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70-year-old rider qualifies for London Olympics

TOKYO >> Japanese equestrian Hiroshi Hoketsu qualified for the London Olympics at age 70, although it’s not yet clear if he will actually compete.

The oldest Olympian in history is Swedish shooter Oscar Swahn. He won a silver medal at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics at 72, his sixth medal in three games.

Hoketsu qualified by winning an international dressage meet in France on Thursday. Japanese equestrian officials said Sunday an announcement will be made soon on whether he will ride in London. Hoketsu will turn 71 on March 28.

Hoketsu is based in Germany and became Japan’s oldest Olympian when he competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics at 67.

In Beijing, Hoketsu finished ninth in the dressage team event and 35th in the individual competition. He also qualified for the 1988 Seoul Olympics but was unable to compete when his horse was quarantined.

Before Hoketsu, the oldest Japanese Olympic athlete was equestrian rider Kikuko Inoue, who took part in the dressage in Seoul at 63.


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