Olympic champion Turkish weightlifter’s body exhumed from grave in paternity case

The body of world and Olympic champion weightlifting champion Naim Süleymanoğlu was exhumed on Wednesday in Istanbul as part of an ongoing paternity case filed by a Japanese woman claiming to be the late champion’s daughter, NTV news site reported.

The pint-sized Süleymanoğlu, referred to throughout his athletic career as“pocket Hercules,’’ died in November 2018 at the age of died at the age 50, following a liver transplant surgery.

The court overseeing the case decided in favor of digging up the body of the Olympic champion who has daughters from his Turkish wife, after DNA samples in the hospital were found to be insufficient for a paternity test.

Turkish media has previously reported that Süleymanoğlu included Mori in his will as having a right in his inheritance.

Süleymanoğlu is reported to have met Kyoko Mori, a Japanese journalist, during the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Mori then settled in Turkey with Süleymanoğlu and gave birth to a girl in Ankara in 1991.

The couple later separated and Mori reportedly could not reach Süleymanoğlu when she visited Turkey with her daughter.

At only 1.47 meters tall Süleymanoğlu stood on multiple olympic titles - in Seoul in 1988; Barcelona in 1992, and Atlanta in 1996.  ‘’Pocket Hercules’’ the only weightlifter to win gold medals at three different Olympic Games.

Süleymanoğlu, born Naim Suleimanov as a member of the Turkish minority in Bulgaria, defected from the then-communist Bulgaria in December 1986 during the Weightlifting World Cup in Melbourne and came to Turkey, where he received a hero’s welcome.

The olympic champion represented Turkey in weightlifting for over one decade, braking a staggering 46 world records throughout his career.