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Sunday, 17 September, 2000, 10:44 GMT 11:44 UK
Turkish hero crashes out
Naim Suleymanoglu
Suleymanoglu won his first Olympic gold in 1988
Turkey's Naim Suleymanoglu, the most successful weightlifter in history, has failed in his bid to claim an unprecedented fourth weightlifting gold.

Suleymanoglu, known as the Pocket Hercules, failed in his bid to win a fourth successive Olympic gold when he missed his three lifts in the 135 1-2 pound class (62 kilograms).

The Turkish hero bombed out at 319 1-2 pounds (145 kilograms) in the snatch which meant he did not move on to the clean and jerk. The total of the two lifts determines the medalists.

The gold medal on the day belonged to Croatian weightlifter Nicolay Pechalov while Greece's world championship silver medallist Leonidas Sabanis took the second place and Sevdalin Minchev claimed the bronze.

Born in Bulgaria, Pechalov - the only member of the Croatian weightlifting team - set the Olympic snatch record of 145kg with his first lift of the Games.

Suleymanoglu, who had promised another gold medal to the Turkish people, owns 22 houses, most given to him by the government following his 1986 defection from Bulgaria.

Three golds

The 33-year-old retired after winning his third gold medal in Atlanta, setting two world records in the process.

But, at the turn of the year, he announced at a banquet honoring him as one of the 25 greatest athletes of the 20th century that he would unexpectedly try for an unequaled fourth gold medal.

Despite his remarkable pedigree, he never looked like claiming a medal this time as he badly missed his first two attempts. He raised the bar to about eye level in his third lift, but could not make the final thrust to complete the lift and dropped the bar to the mat.

Suleymanoglu's first Olympic loss caused an audible gasp in the Sydney Convention Centre, which was packed with flag-waving Turks certain he was about to make Olympic history.

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See also:

17 Sep 00 |  Other Sports
Dragneva lifts historic gold
17 Sep 00 |  Other Sports
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17 Sep 00 |  Olympics2000
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