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Oil Wrestling

Oil Wrestling (in Turkish: Yağlı Güreş), which can be also called grease wrestling or Turkish wrestling, is the national sport of Türkiye. It is called oil wrestling because the wrestlers pour themselves with olive oil and then go wrestling.

The ancient civilizations of Southeastern Europe, Wetsern Asia, and Northern Africa have been practicing oil wrestling. The wrestlers who will play oil wrestling are called pehlivan, which means hero or champion, they wear leather breeches called a kisbet, which is usually made of water buffalo hide.

Oil wrestling or Yağlı Güreş is held around the world, though one of the oldest and most famous competitions is held in Kirkpinar, Edirne Türkiye, in June each year. The wrestling is part of a festival, dating back to 1357 celebrating an Ottoman victory.

men wrestling in Turkeymen wrestling in Türkiye

An oil wrestling match may be won by holding the opponent’s kisbet. The goal is to control the opposing player by putting his arm through the kisbet. Back in the days, a match may last for one or two days until a wreslter gains superiority. In 1975, it became forty minutes for the basphelivan category, and 30 minutes for the pehlivan category. If the time’s over and there’s still no winner, the match continues for another fifteen minutes.

Also known as: grease wrestling or Turkish wrestling

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