KATHMANDU (Reuters Life!) - Nepal’s little Khagendra Thapa Magar has a big ambition. Magar measures 67.08 centimeters (26.4 inches), weighs 6.5 kilos (14 pounds) and was proclaimed the world’s shortest living man by the Guinness World Records in the same week he celebrated his eighteenth birthday.
Now, “he wants to become a doctor and marry a tall and beautiful girl,” Min Bahadur Rana, the chief of a charity that pushed Magar’s claim to the title, told Reuters.
Magar stopped growing after the age of 11 and his arrested growth has mystified doctors. His family and friends have campaigned for the title of shortest man for four years, hoping it would bring in funds for his education and healthcare.
His previous claim was rejected on the grounds he was too young and could still grow. He has replaced Edward Nino Hernandez of Colombia, who is 27 inches tall, as the world’s shortest man.
Rana said a team from Guinness World Records visited Pokhara, Magar’s home town which lies 125 km (80 miles) west of Kathmandu, this week and took his measurements three times before awarding him the certificate.
Magar is the older of two sons born to a poor, rural Nepali family. His younger brother, 13, is average height for his age.
Though an adult, Magar goes to kindergarten. He likes to crack jokes, dances and enjoys painting mangoes and oranges like his classmates, Rana said.
Magar’s size has made him a celebrity in the impoverished nation of 28 million people. He was recently named as an ambassador to promote Nepal’s tourism, which accounts for nearly four percent of the country’s GDP.
Additional reporting by Gopal Chitrakar in Pokhara; editing by Matthias Williams and Jonathan Thatcher