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Youngest Olympian reclaims title
Ken Lester was a bit perplexed at the widespread acclaim of young diver Tom Daley as Britain's youngest male Olympian at 14.
The 60-year-old former butcher was aged just 13 years 144 days when he competed in the Rome Games of 1960. And now he has set about reclaiming his rightful place in history.
Ken was cox in the coxed pairs - but a mix-up over his date of birth by the British Olympic Association incorrectly aged him by 10 years.
The birth date blunder led the BOA to claim that diving ace Tom, from Plymouth, will be Great Britain's youngest male Olympian when he competes in Beijing in August, aged 14 years 94 days.
But the organisation has now set the record straight after being contacted by Mr Lester.
He said: "It is not Tom Daley's fault that he is being put up as the youngest male Olympian. Newspapers have been following his progress and they checked with the British Olympic Association (BOA).
"But the BOA has my wrong statistics -- the association has me as being born on April 9, 1937, not my real birthday of 1947. So I beat the lad by quite some months.
"I felt a bit guilty and mean about pointing it out but I thought I was the youngest and I was right. The BOA said they were very sorry."
Mr Lester, who was born in Didcot, and his oarsmen did not get among the medals in the 1960 games - they were third in their heats and did not reach the finals.
He joined Wallingford Rowing Club when he was 11. He is still a member and has been captain three times.
The club also has people going to the Beijing Olympics in the summer - Paul Mattick, Alice Freeman, Andrea Denis and Helen Casey.
But Mr Lester, who runs Lesters Storage and Transport on the Hithercroft Industrial Estate, Wallingford, said going to the Olympics was a great experience - and he wished Tom all the best for Beijing.
He said: "It was much more relaxed in those days than it is now. The security facing the athletes in Beijing will be tremendous.
"But when I was in Rome I could walk the streets just as I wished. The Great Britain team were a very friendly bunch and I was never made to feel out of things just because of my age.
"I think Tom's a real talent though, I wish him all the best and I'm going to follow his every move in Beijing."
Louisa Huddy, head of public and political relations for the BOA, said: "As soon as we realised the mistake we contacted the International Olympic Committee to find Mr Lester's correct date of birth. We have apologised to Mr Lester and he was understanding about the error.
"The British diving team have been informed of the mistake but hopefully Tom Daley could still be the youngest male Olympic medallist when he competes in Beijing."