Turkey’s oil wrestling champion to be stripped of title for doping
Ali Gürbüz (top) has beaten İsmail Balaban in the final bout of the 647th edition of the Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling Tournament to reclaim his title on July 7, 2013. DHA photoChampion Ali Gürbüz risks being stripped of his Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling title after testing positive for banned substances, sport officials said Aug. 12.
Gürbüz was among 16 oil wrestlers, or “pehlivan,” who tested positive after their samples were sent to a doping research center in Cologne, Germany.
Former champion and the head of the oil wrestling branch of the Turkish Wrestling Federation, Ahmet Taşçı, confirmed that “a WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency] report stated that Ali Gürbüz’s samples were positive for two banned substances.”
“It is really sad,” Taşçı said. “We don’t want doping to enter the field. We have been warning our friends about preparing for the bouts in a natural way, but apparently some of them did not listen to us.”
Taşçı was the last holder of the golden belt, which is awarded to three-time Kırkpınar champions, before Gürbüz completed his hat trick of victories last month.
The mayor of Edirne, which hosts the historical Kırkpınar tournaments, said Gürbüz would be stripped of the title and his 30,250-Turkish Lira prize money would be taken back.
“Kırkpınar is where Turk’s honor, pride and labor prevail. Labor is important, and it should be halal,” Mayor Hamdi Sedefçi said. “Ali Gürbüz is a great pehlivan. He had a great bout. I am shocked that he tested positive. I am terribly sorry.”
All 16 pehlivans, including Gürbüz, were sent to the disciplinary board of Turkey’s Wrestling Federation and asked for a defense.
The evaluation of the board will determine whether they will be suspended for two years or acquitted.