New world's smallest man Junrey Balawing poised to claim title

Junrey Balawing will soon be crowned the smallest man in recorded history – as long as he doesn’t put on a sudden growth spurt.

Standing at 56cm (1ft 10in), the Filipino teenager is the same size as a one-year-old and will smash the existing record when he turns 18 this June.

He is 11cm (4.3in) shorter than the current smallest man in the world – Khagendra Thapa Magar, 18, who stands at 67cm (2ft 2.3in).

And he’s a shade smaller than the shortest man on record. Gul Mohammed of India measured just 57cm (1ft 10.5in). A heavy smoker, he died at the age of 40 in 1997.

‘If I were the smallest man in the world, it would be very cool,’ said Junrey, from Zamboanga del Norte, in the Philippines.

But fame has its price. He cannot stand for long and is dependent on his mother, Concepcion, 35. ‘Junrey can only walk with some help and he can’t stand for too long because he’s in too much pain,’ she said.

‘But he loves it when I tell him he’s going to be the smallest man in the world. He smiles with pride.’

The family’s village is very remote and the nearest town is an hour away.

And while his younger but taller siblings Jaycel, 13, Jay-art, 11 and Jeanritch, six, go to school, he stays at home.

Mrs Balawing said: ‘I would love to be able to work while my other children are at school but I can’t leave Junrey. He needs my care every minute of every day.’ She first noticed something was wrong when he was two but no doctor was able to help.

‘He was always sick and we noticed he wasn’t growing so we took him to see doctors but they were baffled,’ she added.

They took him back when he was 12 but the doctors’ only advice was to take more vitamins, which the family could not afford.

Their village is an hour away from the nearest town and they’re 920km (570 miles) from the capital Manila. Junrey’s father, Reynaldo, 37, works as a blacksmith and is home only at weekends.

Present record holder Mr Magar, who was born in 1992 in the Baglung district of Nepal, started to walk only at the age of eight and he stopped growing at 11.

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