Oil wrestlers battle for the title in a more than 600-year-competition in Turkey


Oil wrestlers battle for the title in a more than 600-year-old competition in Turkey

EDIRNE, Turkey (— After nearly an hour of grappling with his opponent under the blazing sun, Turkey’s “Tireless Wrestler” was crowned the winner of the 663rd Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Championships.
Yusuf Can Zeybek, from the Mediterranean province of Antalya, retained the title he won last year in a contest said to date back to the 14th century. The 30-year-old, who takes his moniker from the endurance he shows in matches, was among 40 wrestlers, or pehlivans, taking part on the final day of the competition Sunday.
The bouts, which are staged on a grass arena in Turkey’s northwestern Edirne province, were held under temperatures of 36 Celsius (98 Fahrenheit), causing one contestant to faint and require medical attention.
Zeybek triumphed in the 56th minute of his match against Mustafa Tas, the 2022 champion, winning the golden belt and 550,000 liras (about $16,800) in prize money.
In the sport, which is on UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list, wrestlers cover themselves in olive oil, making it more difficult for opponents to grab them. The winner is the wrestler who makes his opponent’s back touch the ground.

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