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CULTURE | 15-08-2019 09:04

Irishman, 99, competes at world tango championships in Buenos Aires

Tango fans in McManus' native Ireland raised money for his transatlantic trip. The fit nonagenerian said he only took up tango in 2002, when he was already in his 80s.

A 99-year-old Irishman competing at the World Tango Championships in Argentina has received an ovation for his performance from aficionados at the Buenos Aires venue.

"Tango brings me a lot of happiness," James McManus told local newspapers through an interpreter. "Dancing is very important socially." 

Tango fans in McManus' native Ireland raised money for his transatlantic trip. The fit nonagenerian said he only took up tango in 2002, when he was already in his 80s.

Dressed in a white jacket, black trousers and tie, the veteran from Waterford danced in the first qualifying round with an Argentine partner, Lucía Seva.

The couple won the biggest round of applause from the knowledgeable audience at the Argentine capital's Usina del Arte venue.

The 2019 edition of the world championships features 744 couples from 36 countries.

Organisers at the festival are hoping to verify James as the oldest-ever competitor at the event with the Guinness World Book of Records.

The World War II veteran told a local outlet: “Tango generates a lot of happiness for me. And dancing is also very important socially, you interact with people other than you and make new friends.”

- TIMES/AFP

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