Sunday October 19, 2003

"Raja Gigi" breaks 40-year world record


Strongman V. Rathakrishnan pulling a 260.8-tonne KTM Komuter train for several metres to enter his name in the record books in Kuala Lumpur Saturday.
KUALA LUMPUR: Strongman V. Rathakrishnan, better known as Raja Gigi (Tooth King), completed a successful attempt at a new world record when he pulled a KTM Komuter train comprising six coaches and weighing 260.8 tonnes for a distance of 4.2m using his teeth and jaws yesterday.
The feat has been certified by the Malaysia Book of Records and will be submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records soon for certification as a world record.
Rathakrishnan, 37, said he pulled the coaches a metre more than what he had set out to do (3.2m), and said the extra metre was motivated by the presence of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who witnessed the event at the KTM Berhad (KTMB) station here yesterday.
“I looked at the PM’s (Dr Mahathir) face a few times before I started pulling the coaches,”
“I focused my mind on pulling the train after looking at Dr Mahathir’s face and it didn’t seem a great effort to me when the coaches started inching away as I pulled the rope that was attached to the front Komuter car,”
Also present were the Sultan of Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.
Rathakrishnan dedicated his feat to Dr Mahathir, whom he said had inspired Malaysians to inculcate the Malaysia Boleh spirit.
“My advice to Malaysians is never say I don’t want to and I cannot,” said Rathakrishnan, who had been training for 15 months with KTMB to break the world record set by a Belgian, Walter Arfeuille, whose record stands at 200.8 tonnes over 3m in the late 1960s.
The event was organised by YZ Alliance Group and sponsored by KTMB and Tenaga Nasional Bhd.
Rathakrishnan, who was presented the certificate by Dr Mahathir, said he promised the Prime Minister that he would attempt to break or set five other world records after this.
The former personal bodyguard left his job to train for this feat.
He regularly does jaw exercises, yoga, gym workouts, jogging and long-distance brisk walking and also attributes his fitness to a diet which comprises 90% vegetarian dishes.
He also abstains from hot and spicy food and cold drinks.
Previously he had also pulled a KTMB coach weighing 37.35 tonnes for a distance of 8.37m in Klang in 2001, lifted weights of 130kg from the floor using his teeth (also in 2001) and pulled a 10.8 tonne bus at the Tampin Train station about 10 years ago.
“Next I probably want to use my teeth to keep a flying helicopter from pulling off the ground,” said Rathakrishnan, who is still single.
YZ Alliance deputy group chief executive chairman Mohd Zamri Mohammad said Rathakrishnan had also been invited to London to attempt similar feats.
Datuk Danny Ooi, chief executive officer of Malaysia Book of Records said Rathakrishnan’s world record would be submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records for certification along with over 20 record breaking feats by Malaysians.