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Ron Amato

Kirkinbar: Turkish Wrestling

Every year since 1640 Turkey’s best wrestlers - men and boys
- have gathered for their national championships on a grassy field near the capitol of the old Ottoman Empire. The tournament is called “Kirkpinar” or “Forty Springs” in honor of a 17th century wreslting legend. Nearly 1,000 barefoot athletes compete oiled up and stripped to the waist. The all out style and the oiled trunks go back to the world - famouns Jarissaries, an elite fraternity of bodyguards to the Imperial Sultans. For three days the field is crowded with simultaneous matches in eleven divisions ranging from school kids to forty-year old masters. At the end of the tournament Turkey’s president crowns the champions.