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Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling announcer Kayabaş caps off 60-year career

Şükrü Kayabaş, the lead announcer for the historic Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling Festival, announced that he would retire from his role this year at the age of 81, following a remarkable 60-year journey.

During the oil wrestling events held as part of the 25th Agricultural and Greenhouse Festival in Kumluca district, Kayabaş, in his speech, he recounted his 42-year tenure as the lead announcer at the dual grassy meadows where the traditional Turkish sport of oil wrestling takes place.

Kayabaş shared that his introduction to this ancient sport dates back to 1959, when he first stepped into the wrestling arenas.

He recounted how, after five years of wrestling, a mishap during a match led to a leg injury, forcing him to retire from active wrestling.

In 1964, Kayabaş began his journey as an announcer under the tutelage of Balıkesir native Şirin Mustafa.

He emphasized that he fulfilled this role in the wrestling arenas until 1982.

In that same year, he inherited the lead announcer position at Kırkpınar from his mentor Şirin Mustafa.

“I have been announcing for 60 years in the wrestling arenas. Of those, 42 years were spent as the lead announcer. This year, I bid farewell to the dual meadows, and I already made my first farewell during the Kumluca wrestling event to the audience and our wrestlers,” Kayabaş said.

Kayabaş mentioned that during his 42-year tenure, he had the honor of presenting the eternal golden belt of Kırkpınar to notable wrestlers, including Ordulu Mustafa in 1966, 1967 and 1968; Karamürselli Aydın Demir in 1976, 1977 and 1978; Denizlili Hüseyin Çokal in 1982, 1983 and 1984; and Ahmet Taşçı continuously from 1990 to 1999.

He noted that no wrestler has been able to claim the eternal golden belt at Kırkpınar since 2000, making his role a source of immense pride and honor.

Kayabaş also revealed that he would be honored with the lead announcer’s golden belt at Kırkpınar by the Turkish Traditional Wrestling Federation, marking his retirement from oil wrestling announcing.

He expressed his intention to pass on the lead announcer role to his apprentice Emin Ger and continue his life as a mentor and observer in oil wrestling announcing.

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