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Japanese athlete’s bid to become oldest Olympian in history still alive

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Hiroshi Hoketsu, a 78-year-old equestrian, was included on a list published Friday of 17 dressage riders bidding for any of three spots on the Japanese Olympic team in Tokyo.

The Tokyo native Hoketsu is six years older than the oldest Olympian in history, Swedish shooter Oscar Swahn, who earned a team silver medal at 72 at the 1920 Antwerp Games. That age list does not include Olympic art competitions.

Hoketsu’s bid appears a long shot, given his International Equestrian Federation (FEI) profile does not list any results since 2012. Japanese media reported that Hoketsu has not met minimum entry requirements, which he must do by May 24.

The highest-ranked Japanese dressage rider is No. 142 in the world. Japan gets an automatic team place at the Olympics as host nation.

Hoketsu competed at three Olympics — the other time Tokyo hosted in 1964, then 44 years later in Beijing and again in London in 2012. Hoketsu was the oldest athlete across all sports at the Olympics in 2008 and 2012.

In between his first and second Olympics, Hoketsu earned a graduate degree from Duke and completed a career as a pharmaceutical executive.

He was not named to Japan’s team for the Rio Olympics after his horse fell ill, according to Japanese reports in May 2016.

The Japanese Olympic team will be named in mid-June.

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MORE: U.S.’ top dressage rider to miss Olympics

World’s top badminton player injured in car accident that killed driver

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Top-ranked badminton player Kento Momota suffered non-life-threatening injuries in a car accident that killed a driver in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, according to the World Badminton Federation (BWF).

A van carrying Momota and others crashed into a truck around 5 a.m., according to Kyodo News.

Momota, the 2018 and 2019 World singles champion, sustained face lacerations and a sinus and nasal bone fracture. He is in a stable condition after being taken to a hospital.

Three others involved — a Japanese team assistant coach, physiotherapist and Hawkeye system operator — are also in stable condition.

Momota was headed to the airport after winning the Malaysia Masters tournament, according to Kyodo.

Yuzuru Hanyu upset by Shoma Uno at Japanese Nationals

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Yuzuru Hanyu lost Japanese Nationals for the first time in eight years, taking silver behind Shoma Uno on Sunday.

Hanyu, competing at nationals for the first time since 2015 after injury-marred seasons, led by 5.01 points after the short program but had several jumping errors in the free skate, including falling on a triple Axel.

“There is no good point at all from today’s performance,” Hanyu said, according to the Japan Times, adding to Kyodo News. “I did my best. I wasn’t good enough, and now it’s over.”

Uno, the Olympic silver medalist who struggled in the fall Grand Prix Series, outscored Hanyu by 12.81 in Sunday’s free skate. He landed three quadruple jumps in the free — one fewer than Hanyu — but was much cleaner overall with just one negatively graded jump.

“It was not my best skate, but I feel like I really enjoyed it,” Uno said, according to the Japan Times. “I have had a really hard time this season and finally could enjoy the training and competition for the first time in a while. If everyone skates their best, the result should be different.”

Uno earned his fourth straight national title but his first with Hanyu in the field. The duo combined to win the last eight nationals. Uno became the first skater to beat Hanyu other than Nathan ChenJavier Fernandez and Patrick Chan in more than five years.

Both Hanyu and Uno will be on Japan’s three-man team for the world championships in Montreal in March, where they will be medal contenders along with two-time reigning world champion Chen.

Daisuke Takahashi, the 2010 Olympic bronze medalist skating singles for the last time, finished 12th. Takahashi is now expected to start competing in ice dance.

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