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By Hassan Ibrahim- Afshin Esmaeil Ghaderzadeh (Iran, b. 13 July 2002) is the new world’s shortest man living, measuring 65.24 cm (2 ft 1.6 in).
He is almost 7 cm (2.7 in) shorter than the previous record holder, 36-year-old Edward “Niño” Hernandez (Colombia).
Afshin is the fourth-shortest man ever verified by Guinness World Records. He was flown to our Dubai office where measurements were taken three times over the course of 24 hours, resulting in the accurate record height.
While in Dubai, Afshin enjoyed trips to the tailor and barber before ticking an item off his bucket list: visiting the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.
Afshin was discovered in a remote village located in Bukan County, West Azerbaijan Province, Iran. He can speak both Kurdish and Persian, using the Farsi dialect.
He was born with a body weight of 700 g (1.5 lb) and has grown now to be almost 6.5 kg (14.3 lb).
Afshin’s life in Northern Iran hasn’t been easy. Unable to attend school due to his size, Afshin has struggled with literacy. However, he is delighted to have recently learnt to write his name.
“Continuing treatment and my son’s physical weakness are the main reasons why he stopped studying, otherwise he has no mental problems,” said Esmaeil Ghaderzadeh, Afshin’s father.
By contrast, Afshin is well-versed in using a smartphone, despite finding it difficult to carry. “Phones in general are heavy to use for a long time, yet I still manage,” Afshin told us.
The house Afshin lives in is modest, and although his family works hard, they sometimes struggle to provide enough for his living expenses, medication and treatment.
Afshin’s short stature renders him unable to follow in his father’s footsteps as a construction worker; in fact, there aren’t any jobs for Afshin in his village.
He spends most of his days watching cartoons and, more recently, scrolling through social media. He has a friend who helps him communicate with followers on his Instagram account @mohamadghaderzadeh_
Tom & Jerry is one of Afshin’s favourite cartoons, and although you might presume him to identify with Jerry, Afshin actually prefers Tom the cat.
Afshin also loves watching football and supports Esteghlal Football Club in Iran. His favourite football players are fellow Guinness World Records title holders Ali Daei (Iran) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal).
Afshin has a very kind and outgoing personality, thus he is very popular with the locals. Both his parents as well as his community call him by the name ‘Mohamad’.
Although happy, Afshin explained that he wishes he could live like other people, particularly so he can own and drive a car.
He cannot travel around the village alone; he is always escorted by one of his parents. Although Afshin can walk unassisted, he sometimes prefers to be carried.
“I know who the tallest man living in the world is. I might fit in the palms of his hands.” – Afshin Ghaderzadeh
Buying clothes is always a struggle for people with superlative statures. Whilst it may seem harder for tall people to find clothes because they need to be custom made, Afshin also experiences a similar struggle. The only clothes that fit him are those made for toddlers, but as a 20-year-old man, Afshin isn’t a fan of the childlike designs, so he wears a custom-made suit.
Afshin has never been able to play any sports, however, much like the previous shortest man, Afshin loves to dance. He busts out his best dance moves whenever there’s any Iranian Kurdish music playing.
As a child, Afshin was not lucky enough to have owned any Guinness World Records books, but he says human-body related records are his favourite.
“Just thinking about being part of the Guinness World Records family is like a dream. I struggle to believe it sometimes. It is like you wake up the next day and the entire world now knows who you are. That’s magical,” said Afshin.
“I like the attention I get from people. It makes me feel special,” he elaborated.
He may be small, but it sounds like Afshin has big plans for the future: “My dream is to be able to help my parents. This global recognition might help me achieve my dream.”
“It’s been a privilege to meet with Afshin and his family, and to confirm him as the new world’s shortest living adult man. Judging by the enthusiasm he’s shown during his visit to Dubai, he’s more than ready to enjoy his new-found celebrity status and become a household name.” – Craig Glenday, Editor-in-Chief at Guinness World Records