Seventy-year-old Japanese dressage rider aiming for Olympics

  • Seventy-year-old rider Hiroshi Hoketsu could break his record as Japan’s oldest Olympian after qualifying in dressage.

    Hiroshi Hoketsu will be 71 when the Olympics take place this summer. He previous set the record when he competed at the 2008 Olympics aged 67. He rode chestnut mare, Whisper, and finished ninth in team dressage and 35th in individual dressage.

    The Japanese rider earned Olympic qualification after finishing first in the FEI’s Asia-Oceania dressage rankings. He aims to compete with Whisper this summer, who will be 15, and has recently recovered from tendonitis.

    “I had totally given up on trying to go to London,” he said. “The horse’s recovery was a miracle, I was very lucky. She’s a little bit old, but still a good age,”

    Hiroshi Hoketsu, who is based in Germany, has been riding since he was 23. He is a former director of Johnson & Johnson but gave up his role eight years ago to concentrate on riding.

    A spokeswoman for the Japanese Equestrian Association said: “We will make a formal decision on his selection as soon as possible. I understand he is willing to go.”

    The oldest ever Olympian was 72-year-old Oscar Swahn from Sweden who won a silver medal in shooting at the 1920 Games.

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