FEATURE: To be the world's strongest kid
It’s a sweltering Sunday afternoon outside the Oil and Gas Discovery Centre as a crowd gathers to line a narrow stretch of road in Seria. Many are jostling for a good position to record the event with their cellphones.
With two stationery cars roped together and positioned at the centre of the road it becomes immediately clear – we’re here to see a show of strength. And then somebody, dressed in a bright red polo shirt and three-quarter denims, steps onto the road. This isn’t your average strongman on display; this is the strongest kid in Belait.
Standing no more than 1.4 metres tall, and weighing just over 40 kilogrammes, eight-year-old Mohd Aiman Mujibur fastens a home-made canvas harness to his chest. Without fuss, he leans his body forward and digs his heels into the asphalt. It’s show time.
As his legs begin to shake, Aiman breaks inertia with a grunt, powering forward with four tonnes in tow to the delight of a cheering crowd. Seizing the momentum, the boy gains speed, completing a 60 metre distance at the pace of a light jog.
Son to an Indian father and a Malay mother, Aiman’s strength came as something of a ‘Eureka’ moment according to his parents, but his growing strength since is more than just a story of extraordinary genetics. It’s also a lesson in consistency and self-discipline.
“Two years ago, I had trouble starting my car at home,” says his father Mujibur Rahman. “Aiman was with me at the time. I told him to get his mom, so we could try to jump start the car by pushing it. To my absolute shock seconds later, instead of calling for help, he began pushing the car. He was only seven.”
Aiman says he was first inspired by strongman displays on ASEAN talent shows on television, which has become a family tradition to watch in the evenings.
“I remember watching these huge men pulling trucks on TV. I thought and told my dad, I want to be that strong too,” says the eight-year-old, who is currently in the third grade.
Seeing his talent, Mujibur went to Belait’s Radio Televisyen Brunei branch in December to see if they were interested in featuring him. Not long after, national newspapers published a snippet of the boy pulling a car, this time with a harness, outside his house.
But pulling just one car would never be enough. Make no mistake, while Aiman enjoys tomfoolery with his siblings and friends, and is gentle, often shy, this boy has a burning ambition to be the strongest kid in the world.
“My dream is to pull a helicopter next to set a Guinness World Record,” he quips.
“And to one day pull in front of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei,” adds his father.
Realising the effort needed to do so, Aiman conditions and strengthens his body daily with basic bodyweight exercises. Over the course of a week he will complete hundreds of repetitions of push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges and sit-ups.
Twice a week he’ll “take the car out for a spin” along his simpang (street) or alternatively, flip a huge tyre outdoors for multiple rounds, a now routine sight for his neighbours who regularly gather round to support their local hero.
To fuel all this activity, and make sure his recovery is intact, Aiman eats five meals a day, including shakes of whole milk mixed with dates for extra calories.
A typical weekday begins with boiled eggs, toast and juice, before Aiman heads out to Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Primary School.
When he returns home at the Panaga ‘2000’ National Housing Scheme a little past mid-day, he will begin to prepare for religious class in the afternoon, but not before he sits down for his favourite meal of the day – Mom’s Kari Kambing (lamb curry) with a hearty side of rice.
While Aiman is making good on his promise to train himself to be strong enough to pull a helicopter, a big hurdle his parents are facing is finding the financial support and equipment needed for the Guinness World Record attempt.
“If Guinness were to certify, we would need to cover the expenses of them coming over or us flying to meet them and we have no sponsors. It is also very difficult to find a party willing to lend us a helicopter for the attempt as well,” says his father.After all the sweat poured, countless repetitions performed and all the calories consumed, his father insists that as soon as his son decides pulling enormous objects isn’t for him, they will call it quits once and for all.
His mother, who was initially a little worried to see her son subject himself to such feats says: “How far he wishes to take this is up to him. But we will always be there to support him. Right now this is what he wants and he isn’t one to change his mind so easily.”
Copyright: The Brunei Times/ ANN