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Scuderia Toro Rosso-2010 Turkish GP Preview

Sport in Turkey?

It’s in the Constitution


Turkey is one of the only countries to have a paragraph about sport written into its Constitution. Article 59 of the Constitution says, “The State takes measures to develop the physical and mental health of Turkish citizens of all ages and encourages the spread of sports among the masses. The State protects successful athletes.”

As for this weekend’s Grand Prix, one has to consider that Formula 1 is still a relatively new idea, not yet ingrained in Turkish culture – not like Yagli Gures.

What do you mean, you have never heard of it? Yagli Gures, one of the most popular sports in Turkey, literally means Oiled Wrestling and last year, over 1500 competitors took part in the biggest tournament. Wrestlers wear tight knee-length trousers made out of water buffalo hide and they cover themselves in olive oil. Attempts to introduce the sport to our native Italy failed as there were too many arguments about exactly what type of olive oil should be used.

Much of Formula 1 technology is all about reducing weight, but in Turkey, they like heavy, the heavier the better in fact: Just watch Naim Suleymanoglu and Halil Mutlu in action. Suleymanoglu is a Turkish World and Olympic Weightlifting champion, with three Olympic gold medals, seven World and six European titles to his name, picking up 46 world records on the way. He is known as “The Pocket Hercules” as he measures just 1.47metres tall and he is one of a handful of lifters to “clean and jerk” three times his own bodyweight. We think this move is known as an “Ascanelli.” Halil Mutlu has won three consecutive Olympic gold medals, along with five world and nine European championships, setting 20 world records. We can’t find any mention of a nickname, but maybe he could be “The Large Coat Pocket Hercules as he is three centimetres taller than Suleymanoglu. Surelly a career in F1 beckons for both men as what car designer wouldn’t love to make a car with such a tiny cockpit area?

The Turks have a history of horsepower, but not in the numbers available on the F1 grid. Since the 16th Century, Cirit has been a popular sport which involves teams of horse riders throwing javelins at their opponents. Fortunately, the javelin’s aerodynamic design has remained straightforward so the sport has never been mired in controversy such as Double-Diffusergate.

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