Oil-wrestling Hits Europe in Amsterdam
During the 636th annual Kırkpınar of Edirne, Agha (mc) Hüseyin Sahin agreed with Veyis Güngör, the chairman of Türkevi Amsterdam, and Mohamed el-Fers (MokumTV Amsterdam) that they would unite their forces to promote traditional oil-wrestling in Europe and the world. For three days El-Fers filmed almost every match.
On September 4, 1996, MokumTV started a weekly program on the A1 Amsterdam channel. It proved to be the start of fast growing respect in Europe for this unique and highly esthetic "mother of all sports".
The late Hüseyin Sahin said during his speech, attended by Turkish president Süleyman Demirel, Edirne-mayor Hamdi Sedefçi, Veyis Güngör and Mohamed el-Fers that the Kırkpınar will exceed the borders of Turkey and unite the world.
The champion wrestlers, who attended that 636th Edirne Kırkpınar applauded the news of an Amsterdam Kırkpınar. In his speech at the award ceremony, President Süleyman Demirel said that Turkey would continue to raise world-famous wrestlers. Veyis Güngör told the press that the enthusiast reactions in Europe proved that this traditional Turkish sport is not only everlasting, but thanks to television and video, is gaining popularity under non-Turkish people as well. The organizers of the coming Amsterdam Kırkpınar received the days after the news was released about 950 letters of oil-wrestlers throughout Turkey, who would enter competition for the title of Euro-champion of the Amsterdam Kırkpınar.
The "Mother of All Sports" came in 1997 for the first ever to Western Europe, when the European Champions League were held in Amsterdam. No less than 22 television teams covered the event, and scenes from the Amsterdam Kırkpınar were shown at CNN and the BBC alike.
The 2nd European Oil-Wrestling Championship held in Amsterdam had already a final with 42 wrestlers from Turkey, the Netherlands and other European countries. Winner was Cengiz Elbeye, Edirne Kırkpınar oil-wrestling champion. Addressing the ceremony held upon the start of the matches, Erkut Onart, the Turkish Consul General in the Netherlands, said that he believed the friendship between the Turkish society and the European countries is intensified when these kinds of cultural values are brought to Europe.
In the world of oil-wrestling, Amsterdam became the most important annual after Edirne.
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