ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — At least 16 oil wrestlers have tested positive for banned performance enhancing substances, Turkish media reports said Monday, the latest in a series of doping scandals to have hit Turkish sports.
Oil wrestling champion Ali Gurbuz is among the wrestlers facing a two-year suspension from the traditional Turkish sport in which wrestlers are greased up with olive oil, according to Radikal newspaper.
The Turkish Wrestling Federation did not comment on the report but the mayor of Edirne province where the main annual Kirkpinar oil wrestling competitions are held, told the private Dogan news agency that Gurbuz would be stripped of his title and that he would return the contest's 30,000 lira ($16,000) prize money.
Turkey's doping problems threaten to derail Istanbul's campaign to host the 2020 Olympics. Madrid and Tokyo are also bidding to host the 2020 Games. In the past two weeks, the Turkish Athletics Federation suspended 40 athletes for two years for doping violations. TAF is also investigating alleged doping by Asli Cakir Alptekin, the women's 1,500-meter champion at the 2012 Olympics, and two other team members.
Meanwhile, the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles has suspended Turkish Olympic bronze medalist Riza Kayaalp from competition for six months for allegedly posting a racist tweet against Greeks and Armenians.
Turkish Wrestling Federation chairman Hamza Yerlikaya confirmed the suspension to The Associated Press on Monday but said the Turkish wrestling governing body would appeal the ban and take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
"I strongly oppose racism but I don't believe Riza posted such a tweet," Yerlikaya said of the Twitter message that has since been deleted. "There is no evidence that it was posted by Riza. It could have been posted by third persons."