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 9130
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 279608 8219563
2 Brazil 73786 4758503
3 South Korea 62717 1766777
4 India 60688 3740960
5 Romania 53868 559046
6 Portugal 34340 309369
7 Russia 26611 1344962
8 Iran 20539 4174891
9 United Kingdom 10336 895937
10 Syria 9716 1397209
11 Macedonia 9480 959166
12 United States of America 9472 1428537
13 Germany 9371 81050
14 Serbia 8793 217897
15 Ukraine 5636 233309
16 Israel 3858 70323
17 Poland 3798 407095
18 Lebanon 3516 544288
19 Jordan 3110 520185
20 Saudi Arabia 2509 771245
21 France 2426 86249
22 Bulgaria 2124 324812
23 Palestine 1914 153255
24 Slovakia 1406 13286
25 Bosnia and Herzegovina 1154 360879
26 Norway 1069 15708
27 Sri Lanka 995 9552
28 Pakistan 462 275075
29 Italy 307 62408
30 Iraq 294 850324
31 Greece 176 416242
32 Afghanistan 66 5591547
33 Czech Republic 44 19861
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38 Lithuania 17 52
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