Golden oldies: Sports stars proving age is just a number

Brad Hogg (45) of the Renegades celebrates after taking a wicket during the Big Bash League. Photo / Getty
Brad Hogg (45) of the Renegades celebrates after taking a wicket during the Big Bash League. Photo / Getty

On Thursday, 49-year-old Japanese footballer Kazuyoshi Miura renewed his contract with second-division J-League club Yokohama FC. Miura, who will turn 50 on Feb. 26, will enter his 32nd season this year.

We look at the golden oldies leading the way across various sporting competitions.

Cricket - Brad Hogg (45)

The Aussie spinner is still making an impact in the Big Bash League after initially retiring from cricket in 2008. Hogg made a comeback in 2011 first in the Big Bash and then for Australia in Twenty20s.

He is currently playing for the Melbourne Renegades, where he's taken seven wickets at an average of 26.43.

In the test arena, Misbah-ul-haq is the oldest active player at 42

The batsman made his test debut in 2001 at Eden Park aged 27, becoming Pakistan test player number 166.

The number of test players now sits at 225, meaning 59 Pakistan players have debuted since Misbah's first test.

Misbah has played 72 tests, 162 ODIs and 39 Twenty20s for Pakistan. There is speculation he will retire from the game after the recent test series in Australia. If he does, teammate Younis Khan (39) is likely to be the oldest active test player.

Misbah is still 10 years off the test record for oldest appearance. Wilfred Rhodes was 52 when he played his final test for England in 1930, 31 years after his test debut.

Surfing - Kelly Slater (44)

Slater won the first of his 11 world surfing league titles in 1992, the same year current champion John John Florence was born. Slater has been a consistent performer including a run of five straight titles (1994-1998) and then back-to-back titles twice again in 2005-2006 and 2010-2011.

Last year the American finished seventh in the standings including a victory at the Billabong Pro Teahupoo.

Kelly Slater. Photo / Getty
Kelly Slater. Photo / Getty

NFL - Adam Vinatieri (44)

Kickers or quarterbacks are usually the older statesmen of the NFL. Vinatieri has been playing in the NFL since 1996 and remains one of the best kickers in the league. This season, playing for the Indianapolis Colts, he was tied for sixth in the NFL in field goal percentage. Vinatieri has four Super Bowl rings, kicking the winning points in three of the four championships.

He has one more year on his current contract with the Colts and said yesterday he plans on playing another two years at least. He is also nearing the record for most wins all time, having been part of 201 victories - eight short of the record set by George Blanda.

Colts teammate T. J. Green is 21 and was born a year before Vinatieri signed his first NFL contact.

NHL - Jaromir Jagr (44)

Jagr debuted for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1990 and played at the club until 2001, winning the Stanley Cup in his first two seasons.

Since then he's been at seven other NHL teams and currently plays for the Florida Panthers. The age record is held by NHL legend Gordie Howe, who was 52 when he last laced his skates.

Jaromir Jagr in action for the Florida Panthers. Photo / AP
Jaromir Jagr in action for the Florida Panthers. Photo / AP

MLB - Bartolo Colon (43)

The Atlanta Braves pitcher and fan favourite first played in 1997 and will begin the 2017 season with his ninth different team. An All-Star four times spread across 18 years (1998, 2005, 2013, 2016), Colon originally signed with the Cleveland Indians as a free agent in 1993 before making his MLB debut four years later.

Last season he became the oldest MLB player to hit their first career home run, at aged 42 years and 349 days.

Tennis - Leander Paes (43)

The doubles great took part in the ASB Classic, reaching the quarter-finals with playing partner Andre Sa, who is 39. The Indian has won eight men's doubles and 10 mixed doubles grand slam titles, one of only three players to claim all four grand slams in two forms of doubles.

Paes made his first doubles final in 1995 before winning his first title in 1997. His last men's doubles title was at the 2015 ASB Classic, his 55th career men's doubles title.

He has had 111 different men's doubles partners over his career.

Leander Paes playing with doubles partner Andre Sa at the ASB Classic. Photosport
Leander Paes playing with doubles partner Andre Sa at the ASB Classic. Photosport

NBA - Vince Carter (39)

Carter is one of four 39-year-olds currently playing in the NBA alongside Manu Ginóbili, Jason Terry and Paul Piece. Carter, the fifth pick of the 1998 NBA draft, is currently playing for the Memphis Grizzlies, his sixth NBA team. He's still averaging 23.6 minutes a game in his 19th NBA season. Grizzlies teammate Deyonta Davis was born 14 months before Carter's NBA debut.

Rugby - Hitoshi Ono (38)

The Iron Man of Japanese rugby, Ono is set to play another season with the Sunwolves in the upcoming Super Rugby competition. He made his international debut for Japan in 2004 and has played 98 caps for his country including the famous win over South Africa at the 2015 World Cup, where he was up against fellow old-timer Victor Matfield.

Matfield was the oldest player at the World Cup and retired from rugby last season aged 39. Former All Black Brad Thorn joined the Queensland Country reserves bench as a 41-year-old last year.

Hitoshi Ono will be the oldest player in Super Rugby this year.
Hitoshi Ono will be the oldest player in Super Rugby this year.

- NZ Herald

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