Skydiving keeps 88-year-old Bosnian in the pink

BIHAC, Bosnia, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Bosnian Ibrahim Kalesic is living proof that extreme sports are not always a young man's game - at the age of 88 he keeps fit by regularly jumping out of aeroplanes.

"It's an excellent feeling," Kalesic, who was introduced to the sport more than 70 years ago, said after completing his 1,487th jump during a parachuting competition in the western town of Bihac at the weekend.

"I feel super, rested psychologically and enjoying great company," he told Reuters, adding that he exercises daily for 15 minutes and his wife ensures he is careful with his diet.

As a young man, Kalesic underwent training at a flying centre in Serbia before becoming a jumping instructor himself. In 1963, he set a Yugoslav record by leaping out of plane at an altitude of 5,500 meters.

"I am the oldest active parachuter in Europe," the white-haired Kalesic said with a smile. "I wish to go on with this for another 10 years so to get into a Guinness book of world records as the Bosnian parachuter."

Kalesic made 21 jumps in five days last month during a competition in the northwestern town of Prijedor. The Prijedor aeroclub will lend him a parachute as long as he has a valid health certificate.

His biggest wish is to get his own parachute and another one to use for training young jumpers.

"I am a pensioner without means to buy a parachute and I would love to have one to train my students who would then replace me in jumping competitions," Kalesic said.

He has a simple recipe for keeping fit at his age.

"Parachuting is an extreme sport and requires concentration. To be well concentrated, one has to sleep well, and to sleep well one has to have a clear consciousness that one has not offended or harmed anyone, and then one may sleep without nightmares and be able to jump."

Reporting by Dado Ruvic, writing by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Ed Osmond

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.