Elmayan still going strong at age 95

Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:11pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Rex Gowar

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Artin Elmayan is hard to keep pace with as he heads for the locker rooms at River Plate.

"I've got to get my rackets," he says under the shadow of the Monumental, the giant stadium which is home to one of the world's great soccer clubs where members enjoy a variety of sports.

Armenian-born Elmayan's choice is tennis, a sport he took up at the age of 39. Now, aged 95, he is the world's oldest-ranked player.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) ranks Elmayan 26th among men over 85, a list headed by Italian Angelo Sala who will be 86 in December.

There are only 39 men in the ITF's over-85 ranking, three of them Argentines, and Elmayan is the only one born before 1920.

The next oldest are Eugeniusz Czerepaniak of Poland who is 91 and ranked one place above Elmayan, and 90-year-old Australian Neville Halligan, the number eight.

Elmayan does not compete internationally so he is likely to meet only fellow-Argentines Guillermo Garcia or Jose Otero, both in their 80s, in competitions.

"Eighty-five plus, because there isn't anyone who's 90, much less 95. So I have to play against 85-year-olds," Elmayan told Reuters in an interview.   Continued...

Artin Elmayan practises with a tennis ball in Buenos Aires September 13, 2012. Elmayan, who emigrated to Argentina from Europe when it was on the verge of war in 1938 at the age of 21, said he took up tennis as a hobby and has never looked back. Now, aged 95, he is the world's oldest-ranked player. Picture taken September 13. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian