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Iran's Hercules Hossein Rezazadeh mulls outdoing Beckham, Schumacher

World's strongest man, Hossein Rezazadeh, is dreaming of excelling himself and outdoing four "Sportsman of the World in 2003" candidates, among them David Beckham and Michael Schumacher, IRNA reported from Tehran.

The Iranian Hercules said, "Five have been picked for the most prestigious title of the world -- football heartthrob David Beckham, Formula One legend Michael Schumacher, two US runners I do not know, and me.

"I am the first weightlifter who has been nominated for Sportsman of the World in 2003. I have been the world's strongest man for the last three years but I cannot claim that I will win the title. Schumacher has been the world champion for years and Beckham is among the best footballers of the world."

Shifting to the world weightlifting event, which will start in Vancouver, Canada, nine days later, the +105 kg weightlifter said he is determined to win the gold and title.

As a spirit-raising move, President Mohammad Khatami said on October 31 that he would present 600 million rials (71,400 dollars) to the world's +105 kg record holder Hossein Rezazadeh to buy a house in the Iranian capital.

The Iranian Hercules is to receive the award from the President's Office.

Rezazadeh set a new world +105 kg snatch record at the 35th Asian Weightlifting Championships, which ended in China on September 14. The popular weightlifter of Ardebil, western Iran, said he intended to break the world clean-and-jerk record after lifting 213 kg in snatch but his coaches did not allow.

Iran stood top among 13 participating countries with 599 points and the host China and Indonesia finished runner-up and third with 514 and 493 points respectively.

Kazakhstan, Thailand and North Korea stood fourth to sixth. Rezazadeh, a weightlifter from Ardebil, western Iran, improved the world +105 kg record by 0.5 kg as he lifted 213 kg in snatch. In his first clean-and-jerk effort, Rezazadeh kept 250 kg above his head, winning three gold medals for snatch, clean and jerk, and total categories.

Rezazadeh burst spectacularly onto the international scene at the 2000 Sydney Olympics with a superhuman lift to defeat two legends of the sport on the way to gold and the title of the 'world's strongest man.'

Rezazadeh took Olympic gold with a world record total of 472.5 kg (212.5 kg in the snatch and 260 kg in the clean and jerk). His 260 kg lift was one of the heaviest in weightlifting history and proved too much for 1992 gold medalist Weller and 1996 winner Chemerkin who settled for silver and bronze respectively. Rezazadeh won three gold medals in +105 kg category of the 72nd World Weightlifting Championships in Warsaw, Poland, as he totally lifted 472.5 kg. He set a new world record in clean and jerk by 0.5 kg as he lifted 263 kilograms.

On Jan 9, President Mohammad Khatami granted a 'badge of courage' to the Ardebili weightlifter.

During a ceremony held in the presence of several ministers and other state officials at Hafezieh Cultural Complex, Khatami presented medals to 16 athletes of the land, including world-class weightlifter Hossein Rezazadeh, freestyle wrestler Alireza Dabir, and taekwondo champion Hadi Saei as a sign of acknowledging their efforts in sportsmanship.

Rezazadeh was voted as 'Champion of Champions' of Iran in the year 2002.

Association of Sports Writers, Reporters, and Photographers released the names of the best sportsmen of the country in 2002. To name the top athletes, the association collected the votes of 350 sports writers of 32 sports periodicals.

... Payvand News - 11/5/03 ... --

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