The International Naim Suleymanoglu Weightlifting Tournament will be held for the second time, on November 15-17, 2022, organized by Turkey Weightlifting Federation and Pursaklar Municipality.

Aside from Turkey, France, Kosovo, Uzbekistan, Denmark, Turkmenistan, Belgium, Albania, Azerbaijan, Germany, Slovenia, Spain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Netherlands, Iran, and Saudi Arabia are all getting into the act.

The competition, which will include 72 competitors from 16 countries, and will be broadcast live on TRTSPOR YILDIZ screens.

Talat Ünlü, President of Turkey Weightlifting Federation, noted that all preparations are being made fully a few days before the organization, “We have completed our work for an organization suitable for our great champion, legendary athlete Naim Süleymanoğlu“. Pursaklar Municipality plays an important role in the realization of this organization. For the first time, Pursaks are experiencing the excitement of joining an International organization. President of Turkey Weightlifting Federation thaked municipality for their assistance, and wishes all participating countries and athletes success.

The tournament’s opening ceremony will take place on Tuesday, November 15, 2022, at 14:00 TRT.



Naim Süleymanoğlu was born to Turkish parents living in Bulgaria. Only 1.47m tall, he quickly attracted attention for his weightlifting ability. Nicknamed “The Pocket Hercules”, he set his first world record aged just 15. He dominated the sport for over a decade and by the time he finished his career, he had set an astonishing 46 world records.


Bulgaria boycotted the 1984 Los Angeles Games, but a few weeks later Süleymanoğlu lifted 30kg more than the Olympic winner in his weight category. In 1986, Suleymanoglu defected to Turkey, the country of his descent. At the 1988 Seoul Games, he broke the world record in both the snatch and the jerk in the featherweight division, and won the gold medal by 30kg.


Such was Süleymanoğlu’s dominance in his division, he went undefeated for eight-and-a-half years. But at the 1992 European Championships he was beaten by Nikolay Peshalov of Bulgaria. Three months later, at the Barcelona Games, Süleymanoğlu reasserted his dominance and beat his rival by 15kg.


Four years later, Süleymanoğlu broke his own world record to win a closely fought contest. This made him the first weightlifter to claim gold at three different Olympic Games. At the 2000 Sydney Games, he bravely tried to make it four but failed. In 2001, he received the Olympic Order from Juan Antonio Samaranch, then President of the International Olympic Committee.

He passed away on 18 November 2017.

Source: Turkey Weightlifting Federation


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