An 81-year-old, Min Bahadur Sherchan, has been
forced to abandon his attempt to become the oldest person to climb Mount
Everest, handing victory to his younger rival, Yuichiro Miura.
Since last Thursday, 80-year-old Yuichiro Miura, the oldest man to summit
Everest, had faced an anxious wait for news that his world record had been
broken by his 81-year-old longtime rival Min Bahadur Sherchan.
But on Tuesday night he was breathing easily once again after the Gurkha
pensioner was airlifted from Everest base camp to a hospital in Kathmandu
suffering from chest problems.
His evacuation has brought an end to an epic octogenarian battle to prove age
is no barrier to the ultimate physical endeavour and sounded a note of
disappointment for the Nepal government. Officials had hoped he would regain
his world record as the oldest man to climb Everest on Wednesday to mark the
60th anniversary of Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing's historic first ascent.
Mr Sherchan's rivalry with Yuichiro Miura began in 2008 when the Japanese
alpinist set out to extend his then world record set in 2003 at the age of 70.
He reached the summit again in May 2008 at the age of 75, only to find that Mr
Sherchan, then 76, had beaten him to it the day before.
This season, both men were at base camp hoping to settle once and for all
which was to be the oldest conqueror of Everest probably in their lifetime,
and the Japanese climber was first to launch his bid.
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