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Gold 2022 Events / Sport

Turkish Oil Wrestling

  • Photographer
    Alain Schroeder
  • Prize
    Gold in Events / Sport

Skin glistening with olive oil, wearing only the traditional kispet (thick leather pants), men of all ages, wrestle in the oldest sport in recorded history after the Olympic Games. Recognized by UNESCO in 2010, the origins of oil wrestling, date back to the Ottoman Empire. Turkey’s national sport takes place throughout the year, culminating in the prestigious 3-day festival held in the western city of Edirne, now in its 661st year (2022). The winner will take home the coveted gold belt and title of baspehlivan (chief wrestler) for one year.

Belgian photojournalist Alain Schroeder has been working in the industry for over four decades. First as a sports photographer in the 80s, then shooting books and editorial pieces in art and human stories. In 2013, he uprooted his life, trading-in his shares in Reporters, to pursue life on the road with a camera. He now travels the world shooting stories focusing on social issues and people. He has won many international awards including Nikon Japan, Nikon Belgium, TPOTY, Istanbul Photo, Days Japan, Trieste, PX3, IPA, MIFA, BIFA, PDN, the Fence, LensCulture, Siena, POYI and World Press.