At just 2ft 9in, Indian muscleman Aditya ‘Romeo’ Dev was the world’s smallest bodybuilder.
Pint-sized Romeo was well-known in his hometown of Phagwara, India – for his ability to lift 1.5kg dumbbells – despite his overall 9kg body weight.
Every day, crowds flocked to the local gym to the see the mini-muscleman in training.
Unlike many dwarfs, Romeo was well proportioned, with a head circumference of 15in and a chest measurement of 20in.
Romeo said: “I’ve been training as a bodybuilder for the last two years and by now I think I must be the strongest dwarf in the world.
“I have always been fit but since I started working out, I have become famous for my strength.
“My size has never stopped me. I train with dumbbells and do aerobics and dance. People are always pleased to see me. I have been invited on TV shows and dance on stage.”
His trainer Ranjeet Pal spents hours helping his 19-year-old protege build his small muscles to perfection.
“Because of his small size, I don’t assign him hard exercises. But Romeo trains more or less the same as anyone else and he’s much more determined.
“When he first started, I insisted he did a month of basic exercises like aerobics, push-ups and basic gymnastics to prepare his body.
“After that, I made lightweight dumbbells and taught him basic weight-lifting exercises to shape his biceps and triceps. His size and his weight were taken care of so that he never hurt himself.”
Determined Romeo is hoping to have an entertainment career after performing in many local TV shows.
He said: “I earn good money through my dance and bodybuilding shows but being rich doesn’t interest me.
“My dream is to travel a lot – I want to perform in London with my idol, Jazzy-B.”
– In summer of 2008, Dev was diagnosed with aneurysms which, if left untreated, are a serious threat to his life. Aneurysms and Moyamoya are common symptoms of the syndrome MOPD II, which was the cause of Dev’s small stature.
He died on 13 September, 2012 after a brain aneurysm rupture.