TURNING 18, WORLD’S NEW SMALLEST MAN ANNIHILATES FORMER CHAMP BY 3 INCHES:::SLIDESHOW:::

Junrey Balawing spoke to reporters on Sunday after he broke the record.

SINDANGAN, Philippines JUNE 12 – A Guinness World Records representative has declared the son of a poor Filipino locksmith who measured 23.5 inches (60 centimeters) tall as the world’s shortest man.

Junrey Balawing, who turned 18 on Sunday, broke the record of Khagendra Thapa Magar of Nepal, who is 26.4 inches (67 centimeters) tall. The shortest person ever recorded, Gul Mohammed of India, stood 22 inches (56 centimeters) and died in 1997.

The announcement drew a loud applause from Balawing’s parents and townmates in Zamboanga del Norte’s remote Sindangan township in the southern Philippines, who showered the new celebrity with a feast, a cake, balloons and cash gifts. MORE, and SLIDESHOW

Balawing has not grown since he was a toddler. He struggles to walk, even with assistance, and can barely stand on his own.

Doctors and other local health officials say an endocrine imbalance appears to be the cause of his condition. He also appears to lack normal growth hormones, according to Dr. Lolita Hamry, municipal health director for Sindangan.

Balawing mugged pleasantly for the cameras Saturday as Guinness officials visited the town to take measurements for the record books, clearly relishing being at the centre of attention.

“He can understand what you say to him, but he’s not that articulate,” Hamry said. “His mind is really that of a 1-year-old.”

Balawing celebrated with a beer on Sunday.

Khagendra Thapa Magar of Nepal, the former title-holder, is now three inches too tall.

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