Turkey, Culture

Turkey: Ali Gurbuz triumph in Kirkpinar oil wrestling

Annually held for 658 years, Kirkpinar oil wrestling festival see wrestlers fight for honor ancient Turkish tradition

Ali Murat Alhas   | 07.07.2019
Turkey: Ali Gurbuz triumph in Kirkpinar oil wrestling

EDIRNE, Turkey

Ali Gurbuz on Sunday won the coveted golden belt at the ancient 658th oil wrestling festival held in Turkey's northwestern Edirne province.

The epic battle between two strong wrestlers, Gurbuz and defending title holder Orhan Okulu was not concluded in normal time, with both of them preferring a passive style.

However, in the extra time, Gurbuz managed to win the match when Okulu lost his balance following an aggressive play, seizing the opportunity at the 50th minute of the epic match.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Youth and Sports Minister Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoglu separately congratulated Gurbuz.

The Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Festival started on Friday, it is one of the world's s oldest sports events -- ranking second after the Olympics -- and has been held annually in the province since 1362.

In traditional oil wrestling, viewed as “ancestor sports” by Turks, wrestlers engage in a physical and mental struggle without the use of any equipment; the matches may last up to five hours.

Oil wrestlers wear leather pants, rub olive oil on their bodies and tackle each other on grass fields to be the last man standing, which will earn them the title of Chief Wrestler (Baspehlivan) and the right to wear the prestigious golden belt for a year.

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