At age 135, is he really world’s oldest person?

July 17th, 2008 - 7:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, July 17 (IANS) At age 135, the world’s oldest person might well be a citizen of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The identity card of Nasir Al Hazry, a resident of Al Ain in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, shows his age as 135, the Khaleej Times newspaper reported.

Al Hazry’s family came to know about it only recently when the Al Ain office of the UAE’s department of naturalisation and residency officially mentioned his age in the identity card. His exact date of birth has, however, not been revealed, the Khaleej Times said.

“I managed to keep good health because I always believe in eating freshly cooked food,” the newspaper quoted Al Hazry as saying from Kuwait, where he is currently on a holiday.

“I look much younger than my age, as I am still practising the Bedouin lifestyle such as waking up early, drinking camel milk and eating dates daily,” he added. Bedouin are Arab nomads, who live by rearing livestock in deserts.

As of now, the title of the world’s oldest person rests with Edna Parker of Indiana, US, whose official age is 115 years. She has been holding the title since August 13 last year.

Born and brought up in Saudi Arabia, Al Hazry claims to have fought in the battles between King Abdul Aziz Bin Abdurrahman Bin Faysal Al Saud and the princes of Hayel area in Saudi Arabia in 1901 and added he was rewarded for his efforts.

He also said that he had participated in the Arabian revolution against Turkish imperialism in 1916 and in the First World War (1914-1918).

Describing himself as a shepherd and a warrior, he said he was still in high spirits.

“Although, I live with all my eight grandchildren and one surviving son, I am not dependent on anybody,” he told the newspaper.

The family lives in a traditional Arab house in the Al Maqm area in Al Ain.

Al Hazry, who married at the age of 50, had four daughters and three sons from his two wives, both cousins.

“But all my childre, especially the four daughters and one son, died in an epidemic that swept the region early this century,” he said.

Another son died in 2002 at the age of 73.

Al Hazry’s grandson Mohammed Salim Hussein Al Hazry said his grandfather liked coffee and his only problem was asthma.

The 135-year-old man likes the traditional Nabati poetry of the UAE and many people come to him to hear poetry and tales of a bygone era.

Hussein said he was planning to approach the Guinness Book of World Records to put forward his grandfather’s claim as the oldest living person in the world.

If accepted, Al Hazry may well beat all records as the oldest person recorded by the Guinness ever since its inception in 1955 was French woman Jeanne Clement, who died in 1997 aged 122.

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