`Orhan Okulu Wins 654th Kirkpinar - Olive Oil Times

Orhan Okulu Wins 654th Kirkpinar

Jul 27, 2015 7:57 AM EDT
Isabel Putinja

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The 654th edi­tion of the Kirkpinar oil wrestling fes­ti­val in Edirne, Turkey, con­cluded yes­ter­day with Orhan Okulu from Antalya win­ning the cov­eted gold belt and title of Başpehlivan (head wrestler).

During the week-long com­pe­ti­tion, the pehli­vans (wrestlers), cov­ered in olive oil and wear­ing kispet, long shorts made of buf­falo hide, com­pete on a grassy field. The wrestlers are cov­ered in olive oil, mak­ing this unique type of wrestling par­tic­u­larly chal­leng­ing.

At the final match held on Edirne’s Sarayiçi Square yes­ter­day, Okulu over­pow­ered his oppo­nent, Osman Aynur, who was the win­ner of the 2006 com­pe­ti­tion. Supervising the match were chief ref­eree Hüsnü Patron and assist­ing ref­er­ees Metin Şener and Bilal Şahin.

During the final match, extra time was called after it ended in a tie. It was in the 53rd minute that Okulu won the golden point” and beat his oppo­nent, becom­ing Başpehlivan for 2015.

In atten­dance at the final of this impor­tant sport­ing event were the mayor of Edirne, Recep Gürkan, the min­is­ter of health, Mehmet Müezzinoğlu, the min­is­ter of youth and sports, Akif Çağatay Kılıç, and the pres­i­dent of the Turkish wrestling asso­ci­a­tion, Musa Aydın.

The Kirkpinar oil wrestling fes­ti­val has been held in Edirne, a city in north­ern Turkey close to the Bulgarian and Greek bor­ders, for the past 650 years and is believed to be the old­est sport­ing event in the world. It was inscribed on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010. Every year, over 1,000 wrestlers com­pete in Edirne for the golden belt.


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