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TOKYO — Japanese centenarian Hidekichi Miyazaki set a fresh record as the world's oldest competitive sprinter this week, one day after turning 105, but said he was disappointed at falling short of his own personal best.
"I wanted to shave off a few more seconds as I got 36 seconds while training," Miyazaki, wearing a bright red T-shirt and running shorts, said after completing his heat with a time of 42.22 on Wednesday. His personal record of 34.10, chalked up when he was 103, remains unbeaten for centenarian.
Born on Sept. 22, 1910, Miyazaki was already eight when World War One ended and 34 when Japan was defeated in World War Two. He did not start running until he was in his 90s, since many of the friends with whom he had played the Japanese board game "Go" had passed away, according to Guinness World Records.
Miyazaki — known as the "Golden Bolt" for imitating Jamaican Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt's famed lightening bolt pose — says he longs for the opportunity to challenge the fastest man in the world, according to Guinness World Records.
Asked the secret of his success, Miyazaki said he exercised daily, ate in moderation and chewed his food properly.
"The doctors are all surprised. It's all about being in good health," he told reporters.
Japan, which on Monday marked "Respect for the Aged Day, tops the world in number of people over age 65 years old. The number of people over 80 topped 10 million for the first time, of whom 60,000 are over 100 years old, according to a report issued by the Ministry of Internal Affairs this week.