Turkey’s oil wrestling champion delivers late father’s dream after 25 years
EDİRNE - Hürriyet Daily News
Ali Gürbüz (C) successfully retained the golden belt again at the 652th Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling tournament July 7 in Edirne. AA photoAli Gürbüz successfully retained the golden belt again at the 652th Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling tournament July 7 and dedicated his victory to his late father, a former champion.
According to tournament tradition, a three-time defending champion gets to permanently hold the golden belt, meaning the 25-year-old will hold the belt, along with the “başpehlivan” title.
The 2013 wrestling champion, who competed against İsmail Balaban for the title, said he was really happy to have achieved his goal by winning the championship for the third time.
The young wrestler’s father, Recep Gürbüz, had won the tournament in 1988, a year after Ali Gürbüz was born. Recep Gürbüz, however, never had the chance to retain his title, and died of cancer at the age of 25.
“I am taking the golden belt he could not achieve to Antalya,” Gürbüz said after his victory on July 7. “Rest in peace father, I am bringing your belonging.”
The golden belt, which weighs 1.4 kilograms, belongs to the oil wrestler champion, named “başpehlivan,” for a year. The champion passes the belt over to the next year’s winner but holds the right to keep the trophy forever if he wins the tournament three times consecutively. The last time a champion held the right to keep the belt forever was Ahmet Taşçı, 16 years ago.
Gürbüz, who comes from Turkey’s Mediterranean city of Antalya, overcame his opponent Balaban in 17 minutes by a “game of fetter,” which means taking one’s opponent under his body and locking him by wrapping his arms from both sides. This way the opponent gets locked and becomes unable to move, leading him to lose the game.