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Turkish Oil Wrestling

This is one of the most popular sports in Turkey. Yagli gures means literally oiled wrestling. The wrestlers wear tight short leather trousers called "Kispet", made of water buffalo leather weighing approximately 13 kilograms, and they cover themselves with olive oil. Matches take place throughout the country but the most famous and most important tournament takes place in Edirne by the end of June-beginning of July.

Every year since 1640 Turkey’s best wrestlers – men and boys – have gathered for their national championships on a grassy field near the capitol of the old Ottoman Empire (Edirne). The tournament is called “Kirkpinar,” or “Forty Springs,” in honor of a 17th Century wrestling legend.

Nearly 1,000 barefoot athletes compete, oiled up and stripped to the waist. The all-out style and the oiled trunks go back to the world-famous Janissaries, an elite fraternity of body guards to the Imperial Sultans. The modern stadium is located on the former site of the Sultan’s palace, and Turkey’s president crowns the champions.

For three days the field is crowded with simultaneous matches in eleven divisions, ranging from school kids to forty-year-old masters. The sun is hot, but the fights are long.

Only if there is no winner after a half-hour is the match decided with a “sudden death” overtime. There are few forbidden holds, and grabbing of trunks is not off limits. Despite the fierce aggressiveness, however, and the obvious opportunities for fouling, these Turks demonstrate their essential brotherhood even when struggling to win. If one is injured or gets grass in his eye, for example, it is his opponent who assists him.

Turkish Oil Wrestlers

traditional Turkish Oil Wrestling

Turkish Oil Wrestling is very popular

special tecniques in Turkish Oil Wrestling