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2009 Çalı Yağlı Güreşlerinden...

Oil wrestling, also called grease wrestling, is the Turkish national sport. It is so called because the wrestlers douse themselves with olive oil. It is related to Uzbek kurash, Tuvan khuresh and Tatar köräş. The wrestlers, known as pehlivan (from Persian پهلوان or pehlevān, meaning "hero" or "champion") wear a type of hand-stitched lederhosen called a kisbet (sometimes kispet), which are traditionally made of water buffalo hide, and most recently have been made of calfskin.

Unlike Olympic wrestling, oil wrestling matches may be won by achieving an effective hold of the kisbet. Thus, the pehlivan aims to control his opponent by putting his arm through the latter's kisbet. To win by this move is called paça kazık. Originally, matches had no set duration and could go on for one or two days, until one man was able to establish superiority, but in 1975 the duration was capped at 40 minutes for the baspehlivan and 30 minutes for the pehlivan category. If no winner is determined, another 15 minutes—10 minutes for the pehlivan category—of wrestling ensues, wherein scores are kept to determine the victor.

The annual Kırkpınar tournament, held in Edirne in Turkish Thrace since 1362, is the oldest continuously running, sanctioned sporting competition in the world. In recent years this style of wrestling has also become popular in other countries; establishing the most notability in the Netherlands and Japan.

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Additional Photos by Hakan Aydin (Hakkan) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 72 W: 7 N: 130] (2717)
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