Naim SÜLEYMANOĞLU was born on 23rd January 1967, in Bulgaria. He had the Turkish family who lived in Kircali. Naim was never married. He had a brother. His name was Muharrem. Naim didn’t like to talk by half so, he was a quiet boy. Naim’s nickname was pocket Hercules because of he was short and powerful. Naim started weightlifting while he was fifteen years old. Naim set his first world record when he was sixteen years old. Pocket Hercules won three Olympic gold medals representing Turkey.
Life in Bulgaria
First of all, Bulgaria was represented by Naim SÜLEYMANOĞLU to start weightlifting. Unfortunately, Naim missed his first chance at Olympic success in 1984 when Bulgaria joined the Soviet boycott of the Los Angeles games. Repression against ethnic Turks was growing in Bulgaria; one measure required them to use Bulgarian adaptations of their names, so Naim SÜLEYMANOĞLU became Naum Shalamonov. Naim wanted to take back his Turkish last name. Naim can’t stand the pressure of Communist Bulgarian therefore, he decided that he had to revolt from Bulgaria. Turkish prime minister Turgut ÖZAL wanted to help Naim SÜLEYMANOĞLU. in 1986, after winning the gold medal at a World Cup wrestling tournament in Australia, he fled from Bulgarian oppressions and he went into hiding Turkish consulate in Australia. Naim SÜLEYMANOĞLU was airlifted to Turkey’s capital Ankara from Australia by Turkish Prime Minister Turgut Ozal in a secret operation and then Naim explained that he wants to live Turkey. Soon after, he changed his name so he was name as Naim Süleymanoğlu. When Naim came to Turkey, he started to join the Olympic on behalf of Turkey.
Achievements in Turkey
Naim Süleymanoğlu broke the Weightlifting World record at the 1988 Olympic Games. Thus, he was the youngest weightlifting champion in World. In 1988, Naim SÜLEYMANOĞLU occurred of Time magazine so Naim made his name in the world as a powerful man. Thus, everyone said that “Pocket Hercules” to him. Also, Naim won three gold medals at the World Championships and he broke two world records at the European Weightlifting Championships in Bulgaria in 1994 with only three lifts. In 2000 and 2004 Naim SÜLEYMANOĞLU was elected to the International Weightlifting Federation Hall of deputy chairman. Pocket Hercules was the first athlete winning medals outside of wrestling athletes for Turkey so he is a very important person for the Turkish public.
Naim Süleymanoğlu was treated for liver failure at the Ataşehir Memorial in Istanbul for a long time. Multiple World and Olympic weightlifting champion Naim SÜLEYMANOĞLU has died at the age of 50 after having been placed into intensive care at the same hospital in Istanbul. Naim SÜLEYMANOĞLU died on 18th November 2017. His funeral was held on Sunday at Istanbul’s Fatih mosque. The funeral of the Pocket Hercules was buried in Edirnekapi Cemetery.