Gürbüz defeated Koç to earn his second consecutive title as Turkey’s chief wrestler. He triumphed over 2,160 other entrants, who came from across the country to the northwestern city of Edirne to compete in the centuries-old tournament.
Gürbüz defeated Ankara native İsmail Koç after 48 minutes to claim the title of Başpehlivan or chief wrestler. In addition to the prestigious title, Gürbüz received 60,000 Turkish Lira (€5,860) in prize money, a gold medal and a cup. Koç was awarded 38,000 Lira (€3,710), a silver medal and a cup as runner-up.
We would like to thank all our fans who support us and are with us with their prayers.
This year’s triumph brings Gürbüz’s victory total at what is considered to be the world’s oldest sporting event to four, including wins in 2011, 2012 and 2019. (Gürbüz also won in 2013 but was later stripped of this title after testing positive for a banned substance.)
“We would like to thank all our fans who support us and are with us with their prayers,” Gürbüz wrote to his supporters on Facebook after the win.See Also: Kirkpinar Coverage
He triumphed over 2,160 other entrants, who came from across the country to the northwestern city of Edirne to compete in the centuries-old tournament. Due to the pandemic, all participants were required to submit a negative PCR test within 48 hours of the competition to participate this year.
The three-day event, which UNESCO recognized in 2010 as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, did not pass without drama. Recep Kara, the 2016 champion, fainted during a match with Koç in the third round and was taken to the hospital by ambulance.
One of the country’s leading wrestlers, Ismail Balaban, from Antalya, who won the competition in 2013 and 2017 did not participate in this year’s competition. The 33-year-old recently won Turkey’s popular reality competition, Survivor.
Balaban’s time on the reality show was marred by controversy after insults were hurled at him by another competitor and the Kırkpınar governor demanded the wrestler quit the hit television show.
Thousands of fans from all corners of Turkey traveled to Edirne for the 660th Kırkpınar, which took place in a field in Sarayiçi, to watch the wrestlers compete.
Kırkpınar competitors wrestle in traditional leather pants known as kıspet. The shirtless wrestlers are drenched in olive oil to make it more difficult for their opponent to grip them and grapple until one of them is knocked onto his back. An estimated two tons of olive oil are used during the event.
The origins of the competition date back to 1357 when a group of Ottoman soldiers stopped near present-day Edirne. To pass the time, 40 of the soldiers decided to wrestle in pairs. After the rest had stopped, the last two wrestled into the night and were found dead the next morning.
There was no winner, but since then, the event has been held annually, except for 2020, with participants wrestling in pairs until only one man is left standing.
Over the past 10 years, the competition has been noticeably dominated by wrestlers from the coastal city of Antalya The Fatih Atlı, from Samsun, won the title in 2014 and Kara in 2016, who is from Ordu.