After a year-long pause caused by the pandemic, the sound of the zurna flute and drumming once again greeted thousands of Turkish wrestling fans returning to the northwest of the country to participate in the 600-year-old oil wrestling championship.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, last year’s game was cancelled. But on weekends, spectators flocked to the province of Edirne on the Greek border to watch sports that date back to the 14th century.
In three days, contestants wearing leather pants called “kispet” and pouring a lot of olive oil worked hard to win the title of Baspehlivani or Chief Wrestler, a sport equivalent to a world champion.
This year’s championship is the 660th. Ali Gurbuz from Antalya Province in the Mediterranean saved his championship after a 48-minute match with Ismail Kok from Ankara on the grass square. title.
The victorious boxer was held high on the shoulders of fans, allowing the audience to recognize his achievements when the zurna flute and drums sounded. This is Gurbutz’s fourth “golden belt” after his victories in 2011, 2012 and 2019.
“I’m very happy,” Gurbuz said after winning. “Due to the pandemic, there will be no wrestling in 2020. I will become the chief wrestler in 2021. I hope to become the chief wrestler next year and become the eternal owner of the gold belt.”
Approximately 3,000 wrestlers participated in this year’s competition on a field in Sarayici in Edirne.
Edirne Mayor Recep Gurkan stated that tournament organizers comply with all health guidelines and restrictions to protect fans and wrestlers from the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible.
“Of course, oil wrestling has its own disciplines, traditions, customs and traditions,” Gulkan said. “According to God’s (will), we will complete the 660th Kirkpinal Oil Wrestling on this day, and perform all the ceremonies one by one, without skipping any one.”
Tournament master Seyfettin Selim (Seyfettin Selim) said that the one-year suspension of wrestlers affected their health, but the competition helped them regain their physical fitness.
“These wrestlers haven’t wrestled for a year, we saw them here, some fainted, some were out of breath,” Selim said. “This year we have closed the gap. Hope it will be better next year.”
The Wrestling Festival is one of the oldest wrestling events in the world, and was listed as an intangible cultural heritage item by UNESCO in 2010.