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Suleymanoglu offers Rezazadeh Turkish citizenship


Tehran, Nov 30, IRNA -- The Bulgarian-born Turkish weightlifter, Naim Suleymanoglu, known as 'Pocket Hercules' invited 'Strongest Man of the World' Hossein Rezazadeh to change his nationality and become a member of Turkey's national side.

The three-times 64 kg world champion in 1984, 1985, and 1986 on going back home from Warsaw -- the venue of the 72nd World Weightlifting Championships -- offered his proposal to the Iranian heavyweight gold medalist in Istanbul Airport, enticing him with a 10-million-dollar deal plus housing, luxury cars, and other welfare facilities for membership in Turkey's team.

Rezazadeh has rejected the tempting offer saying "I am an Iranian and love my country and people."

According to Suleymanoglu, the officials of Turkey's Weightlifting Federation have great desire for winning the world gold medal of +105 kg category in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

Rezazadeh on Tuesday grabbed three gold medals in the 2002 World Weightlifting Championships in Warsaw, capital of Poland, breaking the world record.

He lifted a total weight of 472.5 kg, and broke the world record by 0.5 kg by clearing 263 kg in clean and jerk, the first time ever for any weightlifter.

The 1.52-meter-high Turkish weightlifter was born Naim Suleimanov in Bulgaria. In 1986, he was given Turkish citizenship and a new name Naum Shalamanov. Later he was renamed Naim Suleymanoglu. Turkey paid Bulgaria one million dollars.

He became world record holder in Melbourne in 1986 but the Pocket Hercules failed in his attempt to win a fourth gold in the Sydney Games in 2000.

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