Ren Keyu, an elementary school student from Leshan, in China’s Sichuan province, is only 11-years-old but already measures 2.06 meters and thinks he may just be the tallest 6th grader on the planet.
The average 11-year-old Chinese boy measures 1.453 meters, according to data released last year, but Ren Keyu was that height when he finished kindergarten. At 2.06 meters tall, he just towers over his classmates and requires a special chair just to be able to sit at his desk comfortably. Teachers mistake Ren for a much older student and ask him to return to his own classroom, the first time they see him, some students make fun of him for his unusual height and people often stare at him in the streets, but the 11-year-old hopes that his stature will be an advantage for once, as he tries to get his name into the Guinness Book of Records. He wants to apply for the record of world’s tallest 6th-grader.
Photo: Gu Aigang / Chengdu Economic Daily
Ren’s grandparents remember that he was always taller than other kids his age. As he kept growing taller and taller, they became worried and took him to the doctor, but several tests showed that there was nothing wrong with his hormone levels or pituitary gland.
“He was about 1.3 meters tall when he attended kindergarten,” the boy’s grandmother said. “Doctors suspected he might have gigantism. But several physical checkups showed his growth hormone level and pituitary gland were normal.”
The 11-year-old’s grandmother suspects that his unusual height might have something to do with his genes, particularly from his mother’s side. She was 1.9-meters-tall, which is not very common, particularly for a Chinese woman, and her father is over 1.9-meters-tall as well. Ren’s father, a migrant worker, is around 1.8 -meters-tall.
Photo: video screengrab
Ren Keyu recently told reporters that, at first, he felt privileged to be taller than other kids his age. During kindergarten, he was the only one who could reach the apples that his teacher always placed somewhere up high, and that made him popular, but soon things started to change. People would sneer at him or ask how someone so tall could be in kindergarten, and he couldn’t wait to start school so he could feel normal.
Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out the way he thought they would. As he continued to grow, some of his classmates started making fun of his height, and people passing him on the street would just stop and stare in bewilderment. Awkward situations like hitting his head on the top of the door frame didn’t help make things better. It made him feel awkward, and Ren’s grandmother recalls that last year, when another boy called him a giant, he was so offended that he locked himself in the bathroom and shouted “I hate being tall!”.
But despite all the hardships he has faced because of his height, Ren Keyu doesn’t know if he wants to stop growing.
“I both hope to and not to grow much taller,” the 2.06-meter-tall boy said. “I want to be tall enough to break the World Guinness Records, but don’t like the daily inconveniences brought about by my height.”
At first, people thought that Ren could apply for the record of world’s tallest teenager. The current record holder, Kevin Bradford, measured a whopping 2.15 meters in 2015, but he was 16 at the time. In fact, at age 11, Ren doesn’t even qualify as a teenager, so he could set a new world record for the tallest 6th-grader.