BARCELONA ’92 OLYMPICS : DAILY REPORT : WEIGHTLIFTING : Suleymanoglu Dominates, Then Taunts Vanquished
The king of weightlifting retained his Olympic crown Tuesday, then accused his rivals of making it too easy.
Naim Suleymanoglu, the barely 5-foot-tall “Pocket Hercules” from Turkey, brushed off all challengers and turned the featherweight (up to 132 pounds) contest into a one-man show.
Suleymanoglu, who defected from Bulgaria in 1986, hoisted a combined weight of 705 pounds, surpassing the competition by 33 pounds and adding a second Olympic title to his four world crowns.
Three months ago, at the European Championships in Hungary, Bulgaria’s Nikolai Peshalov pushed him into second place. Suleymanoglu had been undefeated since 1983.
In both sections of the competition Tuesday night, Suleymanoglu waited until all his rivals had lifted their maximums before coming in at higher weights himself.
One snatch and one jerk were enough to ensure victory, but to entertain the crowd he made two attempts on his own world snatch record.
When they failed, he blamed his Bulgarian opponents for not pushing him hard enough.
“The lifts I made could have been better if the Bulgarian sportsmen were in better condition,” he said. “Maybe the world record could have come if the Bulgarians had been in better shape.”
Suleymanoglu became one of the stars of the Seoul Olympics when he broke all three world records twice. Turkish Prime Minister Turgut Ozal had him flown home on his private jet to a tumultuous welcome as a national hero.
CIS’ Zenovka Takes Lead After Cross-Country Run
Eduard Zenovka of the Commonwealth of Independent States moved into first place in the modern pentathlon after the cross-country running event, the fourth of five disciplines.
The United States slipped from third to fifth in the team competition.
Zenovka finished third in the 4,000-meter run in sweltering heat. Manuel Barroso of Portugal won the event in 12 minutes 26.07 seconds. Zenovka’s time was 12:50.02.
Zenovka’s overall performance, including earlier fencing, swimming and shooting competition, gave him 4,625 points.
Akadiusz Skrzypaszek of Poland, who led after Monday’s competition, was second with 4,519 points.
The CIS led the team competition with 13,168 points. Poland was second with 12,996, Hungary third with 12,981 and France fourth with 12,758.
The United States, third heading into Tuesday’s competition, fell to fifth with 12,754.
Michael Gostigian of Newtown Square, Pa., was the top American finisher in 25th at 13:29.3. Rob Stull of Austin, Tex., was 34th at 13:37.9 and Jim Haley of Lake City, Fla., was 53rd in 14:19.3.
Stull was ninth in the individual standings with 4,329 points. Gostigian was 12th with 4,295. Haley was 33rd with 4,130.
Hungary’s Kovacs Scores Upset in 209-Pound Class
Antal Kovacs of Hungary, who was expected to finish no better than fifth in the 209-pound weight class, won the gold medal by defeating Raymond Stevens of Britain.
Of the medalists in the 209-pound class, only bronze medalist Theo Meijer of the Netherlands, who tied with Dmitri Sergeev of the CIS, fulfilled pre-Olympic predictions.
In the women’s 159-pound weight class, Kim Mi Jung of South Korea beat favored Yoko Tanabe of Japan for the gold medal.
Irene De Kok of the Netherlands and Laetitia Meignan of France each won a bronze.
Bodimeade’s Two Goals Lead Australia Past Egypt, 5-1
Lee Bodimeade scored two goals to lead Australia to a 5-1 victory over Egypt.
Australian captain Warren Birmingham scored on a penalty stroke seven minutes into the second half to open a 3-1 lead.
Egypt, which took the lead at 2 minutes when Magdy Abdulla fired home a penalty corner, never threatened during the second half.
In other games, team captain Pargat Powar scored off a penalty corner to give India a 1-0 victory over Argentina, and a four-goal flurry in the final 15 minutes lifted the CIS to a 7-3 victory over Malaysia.
(Men, 209 pounds)
GOLD: Antal Kovacs (Hungary)
SILVER: Raymond Stevens (Britain)
BRONZE: Dmitri Sergeev (CIS) and Theo Meijer, (Netherlands)
(Women, 159 pounds)
GOLD: Kim Mi Jung (South Korea)
SILVER: Yoko Tanabe (Japan)
BRONZE: Irene De Kok (Netherlands) and Laetitia Meignan (France)
(Featherweight, 132 pounds)
GOLD: Naim Suleymanoglu (Turkey)
SILVER: Nikolai Peshalov (Bulgaria)
BRONZE: He Yingqiang (China)