651st Kırkpınar gets underway in Edirne
The Kırkpınar weekend started with competitions between children. AA photoTurkey’s longest-running sports event, the Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling competition, will be held for the 651st time this weekend, but the run-up is being overshadowed by wrestlers’ suggestions that they could walk out over insurance issues.
A total of 1,556 oil wrestlers, called “pehlivans,” have been registered to enter the bouts in 14 different age and weight categories.
At the same time, the head of the Başpehlivanlar (Master Oil Wrestlers) Sports Club, Kenan Şimşek, said pehlivans could stage a walkout over their concerns.
“We had a demand from the Edirne Municipality and the Turkish Wrestling Federation that all the ‘pehlivans,’ from the youngest to the oldest, should be granted insurance,” Şimşek told Doğan news agency. “Nobody here is wrestling for money but this is the 21st century. We are seeking insurance for three days. We may consider a walkout if we are not granted insurance.”