Whatever happened to Dzhambulat Khotokhov the world’s biggest child?
WHATEVER happened to Dzhambulat Khotokhov (aka Jambik), the Russian wrestler who aged 4 weighed 56 kilograms (123 pounds), stood 118 centimeters (3 feet 11 inches) in bare feet? In July 2003, Jambik was paired with Georgy Bibilauri, a five-year-old standing 120 centimeters (4 feet) tall and tipping the scales at 51 kilograms (112 pounds).
We spotted them enjoying a meal in Tbilisi, Georgia Wednesday, July 9, 2003. After the young wrestlers tied on the mat, they went off to celebrate Bibilauri’s birthday with chocolate ice cream and Coca-Cola.
* Georgian wrestling champion Levan Tediashvili, who refereed the match, said he admired the boys’ sportsmanship.
“They are fantastic kids,” he said. “These two giants give off such positive vibes. We Russians and Georgians should follow their example.”
The match’s organizer, Georgian journalist Tengiz Pachkoriya, said he came up with the idea after reading a newspaper article about Khotokhov.
“They became friends after spending the day together yesterday,” he said. “I hope the friendship will last many years.”
At birth, Jambik weighed 6 lb. 6 oz. – a reasonable amount for a baby – but by his first birthday he was more than 28 lbs.
At age seven, Dzhambulat was four foot three inches tall and weighed sixteen stone.
At age nine, Dzhambulat weighed 146 kg (320 lb; 29 stone).
In 2006, Nick Patton Walsh went to his home:
Just sitting down in Dzhambulat Khatokhov’s house sucks you straight into his empty world. “There is not a single piece of furniture that he has not broken,” his mother, Nelya, laments as I perch on a stool barely held together by a quiver of nails. Six-year-old Dzhambulat is 4ft 7in (1.4m) tall but weighs a staggering 15 stone (95kg). Since he was three, he has been touted as the biggest child in the world. But the sparsely furnished flat in which Nelya, 38, lives with the boy-phenomenon known as “Dzhambik” and his superlative-free, skinny brother Mukha, 14, confirms that fame does not always go hand in hand with fortune.
Dzhambik is so big that there isn’t room for much else in his life. He is hostage to the attention that his enormousness brings him. People feed him; people talk about how big he is. He takes great pleasure in throwing his weight down on to his only real piece of furniture, a steel-framed bed, grinning as it groans under his weight. At times, he is a walking test of how people view obesity – is he tragically out of control, Benny Hill-funny, or happily rotund? Does he himself know or even care?
When I arrive in Terek, an hour’s drive from the regional capital of Nalchik, it is obvious why. The town is plush with grass, but little else. Mukha, Dzhambik and his fame are all that Nelya, a nurse and single mother on £60 a month, has. We collect Dzhambik from his nursery school, and my notebook and the photographer’s camera immediately plunge us into his world of disproportionate attention.
“Everyone loves him,” says his teacher Zhenia Khadinova as his schoolmates bound around him, performing for the camera. “He’s sporty, likes singing and English. The kids don’t tease him and he is average in class. We can’t all be at the top,” she adds.
Nelya tells me about a set of tests that Dzhambik had done in Moscow two years ago, which said that he was healthy. “It said his organs were of proportionate size,” she says. “He’s only been ill with flu once. He eats three times a day, sometimes four. He was born a normal 6lb 6oz.”
We should mention at this point that Dzhambik, who most of the time looks at the floor, is really very fat indeed. His eyelashes are forced upwards by the rolls of fat that are his eyelids. His thigh fat hangs over his knees. His wrists look as if they have been swollen by bee stings. When he walks down the stone staircase inside the school, it thuds…
The absence of furniture means we are both lying on the floor. Dzhambik does not so much lie down as bellyflop on to the carpet. His huge stomach means he can’t stand up normally by bending his knees. Instead, he must get into the start position for a press-up, and slowly edge his hands and feet closer together until he can balance and bend his back upright. It is as if his limbs are held straight by plastercasts of fat…
It must be a complicated relationship, Dzambik and food. It has brought him his fame, and if he stops eating so much, then he will spend the rest of his life as the man who used to be the fattest kid in the world.
At age 10,
Beneath all that bulk is a child…