Japan's skeleton master makes no bones of age barrier

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Instead, skeleton slider Kazuhiro Koshi plans to go out in style at next month's Winter Games in Vancouver despite the dangers of a sport in which intense G-forces will be the least of his worries.

"I'm in it to win it," Koshi told Japanese reporters after returning from a World Cup event in Europe. "All I am thinking of is the gold medal."

Koshi will be the oldest Japanese athlete to appear at a Winter Olympics at the February 12-28 Games but shrugged off question marks over his age and said he was still improving.

"At the Olympics, I wanted to make sure I don't lose any ground (to younger sliders) at the start. I'm fully focused on that."

Koshi said walking out at next month's opening ceremony alongside 15-year-old speed skater Miho Takagi, Japan's youngest competitor in Vancouver, would feel strange.

"It will be a bit like going out there with my 13-year-old daughter," he said. "But I'll show you all what an old man can do -- you wait!"

(Reporting by Alastair Himmer; Editing by John O'Brine)