DREAMS of becoming a professional footballer “like Roberto Firmino” have inspired Indonesia’s “fattest boy” to shed more than 15 STONE.
Liverpool FC fan Arya Permana – who once tipped the scales at 31 stone 6lbs – has been celebrating the ability to “walk and play football”.
Donning a massive t-shirt to show his staggering weight loss, the 12-year-old has been sharing his weight loss journey on Instagram, where mates have praised him for his “extraordinary” determination.
The youngster baffled doctors three years ago when footage of him as a morbidly obese child playing in a water tank to cool his body emerged from the small village of Cipurwasari in Indonesia’s West Java province.
Indonesian media explained that since then, the lad has undergone a gastric bypass to help lose weight.
He has also followed a strict diet and undertaken rigorous exercise, walking three miles every day and playing badminton with his friends.
Commenting on his remarkable transformation after losing 15st 7lbs an elated Arya said: “Now I am happy, I can walk. I can play as well.
“I have become more agile than before. I like playing football too.
“I can walk 5km with my friends and every afternoon I play football with them.”
The lad explained that he wants “to be a professional footballer. My favourite football club is Liverpool FC and my favourite player is [Brazilian] Roberto Firmino. I want to play like him.”
He was born at home via natural birth and weighed a normal 7lbs, but began to pack on the pounds at an abnormal weight from the age of two.
Arya’s parents took him to several doctors in their village, but surprisingly, doctors did not find anything abnormal about his alarming weight gain.
The couple even had to borrow money from their neighbours and relatives to feed their ever-hungry child as their meagre earning of £100 pounds a month wasn’t enough to buy sufficient food for Arya.
At nine years of age, Arya was so big that he couldn’t attend classes as walking to the school was an uphill task for him.
His ever-growing giant frame meant no clothes fitted him, so he had to spend his days draped in a sarong and sitting inside a tiny pool to cool himself down.
His massive diet became an even bigger worry for his parents, mum Rokayah Somantri, 37, and dad Ade Somantri, 47, as he ate five times a day.
The little boy could chomp through enough rice, fish curry, beef, vegetable soup and Tempeh – a traditional soy patty – to feed two adults for a whole day.
His helpless parents were so worried they put him on a strict no-sugar diet to control him from further bloating.
After undergoing bariatric surgery in April last year, the operation helped him initially reduce his weight from 29st to 26st in just three weeks.
And thanks to a dietician’s advice and a fruit and veg-laden diet, Arya has been steadily losing weight and aims to hit his target weight of 10st.
Dad-of-two and farmer Ade said: “We have been giving him the food that doctors have recommended.
“We don’t give him prohibited foods. He is not allowed to eat sweets or sweet drinks. He is strictly off sugar.
“Arya is now very active and plays with his friends. He even goes for a walk with his friends.
“His sleeping habits have also improved. Earlier he would complain of shortness of breath and troubles sleeping but now he has sound sleeps.
Arya has also learnt to ride a motorbike.
However, he only takes it out occasionally as he is too young to ride it.
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Ade explained: “Arya can ride a motorcycle now. He is preparing for junior high school but the school is very far away from our home – about 10km – and there is no public transport, so he is will ride a motorbike to school.
“In the past Arya used to be best in the class but then his studies were interrupted [because of the weight-related problems].
“I am glad that Arya is going to school like an ordinary child.”