|Birth Day:||January 23, 1967|
|Death Date:||Nov 18, 2017 (age 50)|
As per our current Database, Naim Suleymanoglu died on Nov 18, 2017 (age 50).
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He won his first gold medal in an International Competition at the 1985 World Championships.
In the 1980s, Bulgaria's government implemented a program called the Revival Process which required ethnic minorities to adopt Slavic names and barred their languages. As a result, Süleymanoğlu was forced to change his name to Naum Shalamanov (Bulgarian: Наум Шаламанов) in 1985.
While on a trip to the World Cup Final in Melbourne in 1986, Suleimanov escaped his handlers, and after several days in hiding, he defected at the Turkish Embassy in Canberra. After making his way to Istanbul, he changed his name back to Süleymanoğlu.
In order for him to compete at the 1988 Seoul Olympics the Bulgarian government had to agree to release his eligibility to Turkey. The Turks paid Bulgaria $1.25 million for his release. At the Olympics, his main competition was his old teammate from the Bulgarian team, Stefan Topurov. He came out for the snatch portion of the competition after all other athletes had finished and made three consecutive lifts, setting world records in his last two attempts. In the clean and jerk portion, Topurov completed a 175.0 kg clean and jerk after Süleymanoğlu, with his next two lifts Süleymanoğlu set two more world records and won his first Olympic gold. His last lift was a 190.0 kg clean and jerk that was 3.15 times his bodyweight, which is the highest ratio clean and jerk to bodyweight of all time. Using the Sinclair Coefficient his performance at the 1988 Seoul Olympics was the most dominating weightlifting performance of all time. His total was high enough to win the weight class above his. He retired at the age of 22, after winning the world championship in 1989. However, he returned in 1991 before winning a second Olympic gold medal at Barcelona in 1992.
The 1996 Olympic Games were to be his swan song and he retired after winning a third consecutive Olympic gold medal in Atlanta at the 1996 Olympic Games. That competition was noted for the rivalry between him and Greece's Valerios Leonidis, with the arena divided into partisan Turkish and Greek crowds. At the end of the competition they were the very last competitors remaining as they traded three straight world-record lifts; Süleymanoğlu managed to raise 187.5 kg and then Leonidis failed in his attempt to lift 190 kg, which guaranteed him the silver medal. Announcer Lynn Jones proclaimed "You have just witnessed the greatest weightlifting competition in history," according to Ken Jones in the London Independent.
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.
Süleymanoğlu made another comeback in a late attempt to earn a fourth gold medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, which would have been an Olympic record, but failed three attempts at 145 kg 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.
He suffered from cirrhosis of the liver for a long time. In 2009, he was in hospital for nearly three months.
On 25 September 2017, he was admitted to a hospital due to liver failure. On 6 October, a liver transplantation was made when a liver donor was found. On 11 November, he had surgery due to a hemorrhage in the brain and a subsequent edema. He died on 18 November 2017. He was interred at the Edirnekapı Martyr's Cemetery in Istanbul.
A Japanese woman claimed after his death that she had a daughter Sekai Mori by him, and filed a paternity case at a Turkish court. Süleymanoğlu's grave was opened on July 4, 2018 to take a DNA sample. A DNA test confirmed her claim. He also had three daughters by a Turkish woman.
After his death, a movie about his life and career, Cep Herkülü: Naim Süleymanoğlu was released in Turkey on November 22, 2019.
Currently, Naim Suleymanoglu is 54 years, 7 months and 26 days old. Naim Suleymanoglu will celebrate 55th birthday on a Sunday 23rd of January 2022.
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