Turkish athletes join professionals in parkour in Mardin
Ali Kayalar – MARDİN
Enes Kasım Tekgül, an amateur Turkish athlete, made it to the top three at the World Parkour Championship’s Turkey leg over the weekend, surpassing professionals in the games in the historic city center of Mardin.
“Parkour makes you see things in a different way. The traceur [the parkour athlete] looks around and thinks about what he or she can do there,” Tekgül told the Daily News after performing his part in the speed category.
“I have always wanted go abroad and compete with foreign athletes and was very excited to attend it when I heard that the championship was coming to Turkey,” said the medical school student.
Erik Mukhametshin from Ukraine clinched the title in the speed race on May 12, as Joey Adrian from the U.S. followed.
Mukhametshin also won the “freestyle” final on March 13, while the judges picked Ilia Movahad from Iran for the best “skill.”
A total of 46 athletes from 14 countries took part in the games held on the roof of the Zincirli Madrasah, a school built by the Turkmen Artuqid dynasty in the 14th century, with a unique view of the Mardin plain in the background.
Mardin in southeastern Turkey is the homeland of Syriacs, an ancient people who trace their origin to around 2,200 BC, and is one of the most diverse provinces in Turkey in terms of hosting different cultures and beliefs.
The Turkey leg of the championship followed the games in Tampa, Florida, in January and now the organizers want to take the championship to other countries including Germany, Mexico and Morocco.
Athletes from Mexico, Canada, Iran, Egypt, Libya, Russia, the U.S. and Europe participated in the competition, said Selim Kemahlı, the founder of the organization company that took the World Freerunning Parkour Federation (WFPF) event to Mardin.
“The event will reach some 50 million people via live broadcast as an estimated 1 billion people will watch it online,” he said, while the tournament was ongoing.
“The streets of Mardin has been filled with Turkish and foreign visitors,” said Mardin Governor Mustafa Yaman, praising the venue for its history and view.
The event was also supported by the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry and sponsored by outdoor brand Merrell.
Niloofar Mogaddam was one of the two female athletes in the Mardin event.
“I am so excited to be here,” she said, an insurance sector employee who has been involved in the sport for six years.
“Parkour teaches us many things,” said Berkay Yunus Kaplan, another athlete from the northwestern Turkish province of Bursa.
“Because it is performed in the streets, you learn how to communicate with people from all walks of life.”