Shortest man in the world hailed
A poor Filipino blacksmith's son who stands less than two feet (60 centimetres) tall has been declared the world's shortest man by Guinness World Records on his 18th birthday, sparking a celebration in his hometown.
The title was bestowed on Junrey Balawing in Sindangan in the southern Philippines, with his parents, villagers and officials showering the coastal town's newly famous resident with a feast, cake, balloons and cash gifts.
Mr Balawing measured 23.5 inches (60 centimetres) during the ceremony attended by about 100 villagers and journalists. Guinness World Records representative Craig Glenday presented Mr Balawing with official recognition of his status as the shortest adult man in the world.
Mr Balawing, who wore a white shirt emblazoned with the Guinness seal, took over the title from Khagendra Thapa Magar of Nepal, who is 26.4 inches (67 centimetres) tall, Mr Glenday said.
Dozens of journalists descended on Sindangan, a fishing and farming town of 90,000 located about 450 miles south of Manila, to cover the event.
"Thank you," Mr Balawing told the crowd in a local dialect which was translated by his father, Reynaldo. Mr Balawing blew out the candles on the cake and clapped heartily each time the crowd applauded. He was later heard saying "Kapoy," or "I'm tired".
Mr Balawing - who is about the size of a toddler and has a child's demeanour - needs to hold something to be able to stand because of weak knees. He was photographed propping himself up with empty Coca-Cola bottles, which were taller than his waistline.
Mr Balawing's mother grew teary-eyed during the ceremony. She earlier said she was happy with her son's instant fame.
Mr Glenday said he was struck with Mr Balawing's lively personality and constant smile.
"Although he's short, he takes that in stride," Mr Glenday said. "He has this cheeky smile."