Japanese woman, daughter of legendary Turkish weightlifter Süleymanoğlu, court rules

Published 27.12.2018 12:13
Updated 27.12.2018 12:29
Japanese woman, daughter of legendary Turkish weightlifter Süleymanoğlu, court rules

An Istanbul court announced its final verdict on the paternity suit of Turkish national weightlifter Naim Süleymanoğlu on Thursday.

The Family Court in Istanbul's Büyükçekmece district confirmed that Japanese national Sekai Mori is the daughter of the world record-holding weightlifter, nicknamed "Pocket Hercules," according to the forensic report that identifies Süleymanoğlu as Mori's father with 99.9 percent certainty.

The court said the necessary administrative procedures should be fulfilled by the civil registry.

Mori filed a paternity suit against Süleymanoğlu in January, following Süleymanoğlu's death in November 18, 2018.

A sample of the weightlifting legend's DNA was taken after his body was exhumed in July amid the legal process.

Mori previously said that Süleymanoğlu met with her mother Kyoko Mori, a Japanese journalist, at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

The result of the court means that Mori will inherit a share of Süleymanoğlu's legacy.

The parties, Süleymanoğlu's other two daughters, Esin and Sezin Süleymanoğlu did not request an appeal against the court's decision.

Süleymanoğlu family's lawyer Aziz Demir said that "Esin and Sezin Süleymanoğlu did not want to request an appeal due to Forensic Medicine Institute's report and accepted their sister."

Süleymanoğlu never married.

The legendary weightlifter died at age 50 after he was admitted to an Istanbul hospital due to liver failure caused by cirrhosis.

The athlete, nicknamed "Pocket Hercules" due to his short stature, became a global star after setting six world records, winning three Olympic gold medals and out lifting the winner of the weight class above him at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.

After winning the world championship in 1988, he retired at the age of 22. However, he returned in 1991 to win a second Olympic gold at Barcelona in 1992.

He built up one of the sport's greatest ever rivalries with Greece's Valerios Leonidis which was followed avidly by Turkish and Greek communities across the world. Trading world records with Valerios Leonidis, Süleymanoğlu eventually won his third Olympic gold medal.

In 2000 and 2004 he was elected to the International Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame. He was awarded the Olympic Order, the highest award of the Olympic movement, in 2001.

Süleymanoğlu is the only weightlifter in history to win gold medals in three different Olympics.

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