A Spaniard could be the new holder of the coveted title “oldest man in the world”, if the Guinness World Records accept his identity papers.
Francisco Núñez Olivera was born on December 13th 1904 in the village of Bienvenida in Badajoz, western Spain, making him 111 years old and, his family believes, the world's oldest man.
But he faces a challenge from another man who is also claiming to be the world’s oldest man.
Holocaust survivor, Israel Krystal, from Haifa, Israel, claims to be 112 years old but, unlike Núñez, does not have the necessary papers to prove his age.
Candidates for the world’s oldest man must present a birth certificate, as well as a marriage certificate and a birth certificate for any children, to prove the “family tree”, the Guinness World Record correspondent for Spain, Emilio Ibáñez, told Spanish daily El Mundo.
Francisco – known as Marchena – fathered four children, and has nine grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.
He has been a widower since 1988 and his two sons have died but he lives with his eldest daughter, María Antonia, 80, and near his other daughter Milagros, 77.
“I worked in the fields all my life,” he told El Mundo.
His ID says he was born on September 13th 1904 but his daughter says he is actually three months younger and was born on December 13th.
He was ten years old when the First World War broke out and in the 1920s he fought against the Berbers in Morocco during the Rif War between Spain and its North African neighbour.
His secret to such a long life, he says is “to work hard. To not be weak and stay in the house.”
His daughter added a few more reasons as to why her father may have lived such a long life, including “a gentle routine in a quiet village, being his own boss, not arguing with the family and enjoying the good life – that revolved around the field, his house and the village bar.”
He also has a varied diet despite not having had his own teeth for four decades.
His daily food consists of milk and madeleines (a light sponge cake) for breakfast with an Actimel. Meat, fish or stew for lunch, yoghurt for an afternoon snack and special cereal with milk for dinner.
He says he has enjoyed good health a kidney removed when he was 90, a cataract operation aged 98 and was hospitalized for a urinary infection when he was 108. He claims to have never broken a bone and to have perfect blood pressure.
While Francisco has the records to prove his age, they are not the originals – which were burned during the Spanish Civil War.
If Guinness accepts the document, which was updated in the early 1970s, Francisco will become the oldest man in the world.
“We would be so proud,” his daughters said.