Japanese dressage rider Hiroshi Hoketsu, at age 71 will be the oldest participant at this year’s London Olympics, says he is only getting in better shape and has not set a retirement age yet.
While in Tokyo on a short visit in Japan from his base city Aachen in Germany, Hoketsu says that he is competing for the sake of himself. “But if people out there, especially old men, are encouraged as I am doing well internationally at the age of 71, I couldn’t be happier.”
“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 says. Hoketsu still trains constantly, spending 40 minutes to work his muscles every day.
At 1.68 meters and 62 kilos, Hoketsu says he is in the same physique as he was at university. He first competed for Japan when he was 23-year-old, at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
He thinks of competing at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro as well, when he will be 75, to break the age record for an Olympic participant which belongs to Swedish shooter Oscar Swahn, who won a silver medal at the 1920 Antwerp Games at the age of 72 years and 10 months.