Watch: Get the olive oil! Turkish oil wrestling competition kicks off with fierce action

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Source:

Associated Press

The annual Turkish oil wrestling competition was kicked off in Kirkpinar where young wrestlers faced off.

The event in Kirkpinar has been running for over 600 years.
Source: Associated Press

This traditional Turkish sport has been around for more than 600 years since the Ottoman Empire in the 14th century when two brothers who were also soldiers under the empire wrestled for hours in Kirkpinar.

Unfortunately, they could not defeat each other and died of exhaustion. Ever since then, Kirkpinar has held oil wrestling matches to commemorate the brothers' brave and tenacious spirit.

Oil wrestling or grease wrestling, is the Turkish national sport where the wrestlers are shirtless and wear hand-stitched leather trousers called a kispet, which is traditionally made of water buffalo hide. They then douse themselves in olive oil before a match begins.

"It cannot be called oil wrestling if wrestlers do not douse themselves with olive oil or wear kispets," said Osman, host of the wrestling competition.

An oil wrestling match is won by pinning the opponent's back and shoulder on the ground. Since oil makes a wrestler's body slippery, having an effective hold on the opponent's kispet is the best strategy.

"Wrestlers use (the) only strategy with the kispet for grasp, seize and grab. So, the strategy comes from the trousers," said Kut, a guide of the local city museum.

Oil wrestling in Kirkpinar represents the highest level of all oil wrestling competitions in Turkey.

This year, Kirkpinar will see the largest number of wrestlers in recent years, for in total 2200 wrestlers would participate in the competition.

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