World's Oldest Person? Georgia Claims Antisa Khvichava Is 130
SACHIRE, Georgia — Authorities in the former Soviet republic of Georgia claim a woman from a remote mountain village turned 130 on Thursday, making her the oldest person on Earth.
Antisa Khvichava from western Georgia was born on July 8, 1880, said Georgiy Meurnishvili, spokesman for the civil registry at the Justice Ministry.
The woman, who lives with her 40-year-old grandson in an idyllic vine-covered country house in the mountains, retired from her job as a tea and corn picker in 1965, when she was 85, records say.
"I've always been healthy, and I've worked all my life – at home and at the farm," said Khvichava, in a bright dress and headscarf, her withering lips rejuvenated by shiny red lipstick. Sitting in the chair and holding her cane, Khvichava spoke quietly through an interpreter since she never went to school to learn Georgian and speaks only the local language, Mingrelian.
Her age couldn't immediately be independently verified. Her birth certificate was lost – one of the great number to have disappeared in the past century amid revolutions and a civil war which followed the collapse of the Russian Empire.
But Meurnishvili showed two Soviet-era documents that he says attest to her age. Scores of officials, neighbors, friends, and descendants backed up her claim as the world's top senior.
The Gerontology Research Group currently recognizes 114-year-old Eugenie Blanchard of Saint Barthelemy, France, as the world's oldest person. The organization is yet to examine Khvichava's claim.
Khvichava has a son, 10 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren and six great, great grandchidren.
Khvichava's 70-year-old son Mikhail apparently was born when his mother was 60. She said she also had two children from a previous marriage, but says they died of hunger during World War II.