World's New Tallest Man Yearns for Love

by VR Sreeraman on Sep 19 2009 1:16 PM

The world's new tallest man, measuring two meters 46.5 centimeters (eight feet one inch), said he was looking for love as he was presented by Guinness World Records in London on Wednesday.

Sultan Kosen, 26, blotted out the iconic Tower Bridge as he posed for photographs on the banks of the River Thames in his first ever trip outside his native Turkey.

He takes over the title from China's Bao Xishun, who stands 'just' 2.36 meters (seven feet 8.95 inches).

The Turk also has the world's largest hands and largest feet, measuring 27.5 centimeters (10.8 inches) and 36.5 centimeters (14.4 inches) respectively.

And his giant hands dwarfed those proffered by amazed wellwishers as he turned heads in London, while reporters strained to get their microphones within reach of his head.

Kosen was unable to complete his schooling because of his extreme height, but works occasionally as a farmer to support his family.

He said he hoped his newfound celebrity status would enable him "to travel and see the world and have a car that accommodates my size."

"My biggest dream though, is to get married and have children, I'm looking for love," he said.

The extreme difficulty of squeezing into a regular-sized car is one of the main disadvantages of his height, but he says it comes in handy for replacing light bulbs and hanging curtains for his mother.

Kosen has three brothers and a sister, who are all normal-sized, but his rate of growth surged from the age of 10 because of a tumour which caused too much growth hormone to be released from his pituitary gland.

The tumour was successfully removed in surgery and he finally stopped growing last year. He uses walking sticks and tires quickly if he is standing.

Another pretender to the tallest title, Ukrainian Leonid Stadnyk, who claims to be 10.5 centimeters taller than Kosen, fails to qualify for the record because he refused to be measured by Guinness World Records officials.

Guinness editor-in-chief Craig Glenday travelled to Turkey to personally validate Kosen's height under strict guidelines, measuring him three times in one day because bodies expand and shrink throughout the day.

Glenday said: "Sultan's an imposing figure, but a gentle, quiet man who's totally relaxed and unfazed about his unique standing in the world."