Turkish athlete sets record in oil wrestling event

By Fatih Erel

ISTANBUL (AA) – Turkish athlete Orhan Okulu won Sunday the title of the chief wrestler (Baspehlivan) at the 666th edition of the traditional Elmali Oil Wrestling tournament in Antalya, Turkey.

Okulu set a record in what is dubbed the oldest oil wrestling event in Turkey by claiming the Baspehlivan title the sixth time in a row against his rival Ismail Balaban in the final.

The previous record holder was the legendary Turkish wrestler, Ahmet Tasci, who won the title five times in 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993.

Elmali, located about 70 kilometers from the seaside town of Kas, hosts the oil wrestling tournament every year for three days.

More than 1,600 wrestlers including 78 chief wrestlers participated in the festival.

The festival dates back to the Ottoman era and is one of the world's oldest sporting events.

Wrestlers wear leather pants, rub olive oil on their bodies, and tackle each other on grass fields.