Ja­pan cen­te­nar­ian notches up world swim record

The China Post - - SPORTS -

A 100-year-old Ja­panese woman has be­come the world’s first cen­te­nar­ian to com­plete a 1,500-me­ter freestyle swim, 20 years af­ter she took up the sport.

Mieko Na­gaoka took just un­der an hour and 16 min­utes to fin­ish the race as the sole com­peti­tor in the 100-104-yearold cat­e­gory at a short course pool in Ehime, west­ern Ja­pan, on Satur­day.

“I want to swim un­til I turn 105 if I can live that long,” the sprightly Na­gaoka told Ky­odo News.

Her achieve­ment is ex­pected to be rec­og­nized by Guin­ness World Records, the agency re­ported.

Na­gaoka, who pub­lished a book last year en­ti­tled “I’m 100 years old and the world’s best ac­tive swim­mer,” is no stranger to the 1,500-me­ter race, hav­ing com­pleted the dis­tance at the age of 99 in an Olympic-sized pool.

Na­gaoka only took up swim­ming when she hit 80, one of the grow­ing num­ber of el­derly Ja­panese who are en­joy­ing longer and health­ier lives as the coun­try ages.

There were nearly 59,000 cen­te­nar­i­ans in Ja­pan in Septem­ber last year, gov­ern­ment fig­ures show — which means 46 out of ev­ery 100,000 peo­ple is 100 or over.

Among them are sev­eral who re­main phys­i­cally ac­tive long af­ter many peo­ple have given up the ghost.

They in­clude 103-year-old sprinter Hide­kichi Miyazaki, who holds the world record for the 100-me­ter dash in the 100-104 age cat­e­gory, clock­ing up a re­spectable 29.83 sec­onds.

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