Guinness World Records last night presented Rumeysa Gelgi with the record title of Tallest Teenager (female) in the world.
The 17-year-old, who has a standing height of 213.6 cm (7ft 0.09 in), received the award in a special presentation in her hometown of Safranbolu, Karabük, in Turkey.
Doctor Ömer Hakan Yavaşoğlu carried out the official measurements of Rumeysa, which in accordance with Guinness World Records guidelines was carried out at three different times in the same day.
The measurements were taken in the presence of Official Seyda Subasi-Gemici, who represented Guinness World Records at the ceremony.
Rumeysa said: “It’s one of my biggest dreams to be awarded with this record. Being a record-holder is a very amazing thing. I know that only the special people can make it and I know I’m one of them now.”
Guinness World Records Official Seyda Subasi-Gemici said: “Guinness World Records celebrates diversity and recognises extraordinary people all over the world. Rumeysa Gelgi has shown tremendous courage in the way that she has dealt with her condition, and it is an honour to meet and award her with the record title of Tallest Teenager.”
Rumeysa is currently in the 11th grade at high school and lives at home with her parents and older siblings – who are all ‘normal’ height.
Medical experts believe that Rumeysa’s condition is caused by Weaver’s syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes rapid growth. In addition to her exceptional height, Rumeysa’s hands measure 24.5 cm and feet 30.5 cm.
Rumeysa’s condition means that she suffers ongoing physical problems, such as instability and difficulty in walking. In the past she has also experienced unkind reactions from members of the public to her appearance.
Rumeysa says that people’s negativity no longer upsets her, putting it down to ignorance. She is keen to highlight the advantages of being so tall: “I like being different from everyone else. It’s interesting and makes me feel special. It also provides me with easy access to high places, and looking down at people from above isn’t a bad thing either!”
Rumeysa has been told that she is not expected to grow any further, so will not beat the record of Tallest Living Person and fellow countryman, Sultan Kösen, who measures 251 cm (8ft 3 in).
The Tallest Ever Female Teenager is Canadian Anna Haining Swan (b. 6 August 1846 - d. 5 August 1888), who reached a height of 241.3 cm (7ft 11 in). The Tallest Man on record is American Robert Wadlow who measured 272cm (8ft 11.1 in) in 1940.
Rumeysa’s record will feature in the 2015 Guinness World Records book, out in September.