'King Tooth' pulls train with teeth in world record bid

Updated: 2007-08-30 17:08

"Raja Gigi" or "Teeth King" Rathakrishnan Velu uses his teeth to pull seven train coaches, weighing about 300 tonnes, in Kuala Lumpur August 30, 2007 in an attempt to break a record which he set four years ago with six coaches. [Reuters]

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA -- A Malaysian nicknamed "King Tooth" pulled a seven-coach train using a steel rope clenched in his mouth Thursday (August 30), a feat that organizers said was a new world record for the heaviest weight pulled with teeth.

Grunting and gasping, Rathakrishnan Velu's neck muscles strained and his face contorted as he hauled the 297.1-metric-ton (327.50 US tons) train over 2.8 meters (9 feet, 2.2 inches) along tracks.

The feat is expected to be recognized by Guinness World Records in two to three weeks after verification of the data, said Rathakrishnan's manager, Anna Chidambar.

"I don't know what toothpaste he uses but I am sure a lot companies will be looking to endorse their products from Rathakrishnan," said Maximus Ongkili, a Cabinet minister, who witnessed the effort at a railway station in Kuala Lumpur.

Dozens of onlookers clapped and chanted "Malaysia Boleh!" or "Malaysia Can" when Rathakrishnan sat down and pulled the train, holding both tracks for support and pushing his booted feet against the wooden rafters to propel himself backward.

Rathakrishnan, a strict vegetarian ethnic Indian, holds the previous world record for the heaviest weight pulled with teeth. He had dragged a 260.8-metric-ton (287.48 US tons) train over 4.2 meters (13 feet, 9.3 inches) on Oct. 18, 2003.

Rathakrishnan, who partially attributes his strength to an Indian form of meditation, was hoping to pull the heavier train more than 4.2 meters (13 feet, 9.3 inches) on Thursday but could manage only 2.8 meters (9 feet, 2.2 inches) in the first attempt.

His second and third attempts resulted in the train moving distances of 0.73 meters (2 feet, 4.7 inches) and 2.48 meters (8 feet, 1.6 inches).

"We are slightly disappointed ... he would have liked to end up with a longer distance but at the end of the day it is still a record," said Chidambar.

An exhausted Rathakrishnan spoke only briefly to reporters, saying that in addition to the meditation exercises, he runs at least 25 kilometers (15.53 miles), lifts bars up to 250 kilograms (551.15 pounds) and does jaw training daily, waking up at 4.30 am.

Before beginning the attempt, Rathakrishnan closed his eyes and breathed heavily, holding the left index finger against his nose and right index finger against his chest. He then touched his forehead and the top of his head before sitting on the ground to start pulling.

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