VETERAN OLYMPIAN: Hiroshi Hoketsu, of Japan, tips his hat to the crowd after competing with his horse Whisper in the equestrian dressage at the 2012 London Olympics.
VETERAN OLYMPIAN: Hiroshi Hoketsu, of Japan, tips his hat to the crowd after competing with his horse Whisper in the equestrian dressage at the 2012 London Olympics. David Goldman

Japanese equestrian king has 2020 vision

THE dream still burns for Japan’s equestrian king Hiroshi Hoketsu, who at age 75 has missed out on Rio but aims to be become the oldest Olympic competitor ever at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Hoketsu would have gained that mantle in Rio but for his horse’s ill-health, some 52 years after his Olympic debut in showjumping at the 1964 Tokyo Games.

He also represented his country in dressage at the Olympics in 2008 in Beijing and 2012 in London.

“If I can do it and be in Tokyo, that would be marvellous,” Hoketsu told Reuters.

“Four years from now I will be 79 and I have to see if it will still be physically possible.”

Out of the Games, too, because of his horse’s health is Ian Millar, who holds the record for most Olympic appearances.

The 69-year-old equestrian rider dubbed “Captain Canada” was set to attend his 11th Olympics, but his best horse, Dixson, is still recovering from surgery.

However, Millar will be in Rio to cheer on daughter Amy, who will make her Olympic debut in the showjumping.


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