Naim Süleymanoğlu

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Country: Turkey

About Naim Süleymanoğlu
Naim Süleymanoğlu (born January 23, 1967 in Ptichar, Bulgaria), formerly known as Naim Suleimanov (Bulgarian: Наим Сюлейманов), is a Bulgarian-Turkish World and Olympic Champion in weightlifting. He won three Olympic Championships, seven World Championships and six European Championships and earned 46 world records. Born in Bulgaria of Turkish descent, he was nicknamed "The Pocket Hercules" due to his small stature (1.47 meters, approx. 4 feet 10 inches). He is the second of only seven lifters to clean and jerk three times their bodyweight. Suleimanov set his first world record at the age 16 but missed his first chance at Olympic success in 1984 when Bulgaria joined the Soviet boycott of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.Soon afterwards the Communist regime in Bulgaria forced its Turkish minority to adopt Bulgarian names and he became known internationally as Naum Shalamanov (Наум Шаламанов). While on a trip to the World Cup Final in Melbourne in 1986, Suleimanov defected. He resurfaced in Turkey and applied for citizenship. He also changed his name from the Bulgarian Suleimanov/Shalamanov to the Turkish Süleymanoğlu. After the fall of Communism in Bulgaria, his family was able to join him in Turkey. A battle over which country he would represent in the 1988 Seoul Olympics arose. The Bulgarian government demanded and received $1,000,000 from Turkey to allow him to compete for Turkey. Süleymanoğlu did not disappoint, winning the featherweight gold medal. He retired at the age of 22, after winning the world championship in 1989. However, the allure of competition was too strong and he returned in 1991 before winning a second Olympic gold medal at Barcelona in 1992. Between the Olympiads, Süleymanoğlu continued to win world titles and set records. The 1996 Olympic Games were to be his swansong and he retired after winning a third consecutive Olympic gold medal in Atlanta at the 1996 Olympic Games. Süleymanoğlu made another comeback in a late attempt to earn a fourth gold medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney but failed to lift 145 kg, which would have been a World record, and was eliminated from the competition. He was awarded the Olympic Order in 2001. In 2000 and 2004 he was elected member of the International Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame. At the 1999 general elections, he stood as an independent candidate to represent Bursa at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. In 2002 he was the candidate of the Nationalist Movement Party for the mayor of Kıraç municipality in Büyükçekmece district of Istanbul Province and represented the same party in general elections in 2006. He was unsuccessful in all these attempts.

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Turkey Athletes Ranking

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Rank Name Total
3. Koca Yusuf 9132
4. Halil Akkaş 7760
5. Kurtdereli Mehmet 6390
6. İpek Şenoğlu 3365
7. Naim Süleymanoğlu 3315
8. Yaşar Doğu 2164
9. Kenan Sofuoğlu 1341
10. Süreyya Ayhan Kop 1124
11. Eşref Apak 854

Athletes Ranking

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Rank Name Total
61. César Cielo 3490
62. Apolo Anton Ohno 3442
63. İpek Şenoğlu 3365
64. Saeed Ajmal 3361
65. Naim Süleymanoğlu 3315
66. Piros Dimas 3062
67. Shahid Afridi 2718
68. David Bautista 2625
69. Ivan Patzaichin 2611

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# Name Today Total
1 Turkey 350759 8290714
2 Brazil 114843 4799560
3 South Korea 84632 1788692
4 India 82644 3762916
5 Romania 53894 559072
6 Portugal 45724 320753
7 Russia 35053 1353404
8 Iran 27851 4182203
9 United Kingdom 13621 899222
10 Syria 12956 1400449
11 Serbia 12587 221691
12 Germany 12553 84232
13 Macedonia 12143 961829
14 United States of America 12099 1431164
15 Ukraine 7293 234966
16 Israel 4664 71129
17 Lebanon 4512 545284
18 Jordan 4242 521317
19 Poland 3799 407096
20 France 3349 87172
21 Saudi Arabia 2859 771595
22 Palestine 2373 153714
23 Bulgaria 2325 325013
24 Norway 1603 16242
25 Bosnia and Herzegovina 1434 361159
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