Nine wrestlers dead with fears for those trapped under rubble after Turkey earthquake

A group of nine wrestlers have died after Turkey and Syria were hit by an earthquake, United World Wrestling (UWW) have announced, with about 30 to 40 more still trapped under the rubble.

The earthquakes hit both countries on February 6, the first one reaching 7.8 in the magnitude scale, with second hitting 7.5.

About 40,000 people have so far been declared dead and rescuing forces remain searching for those who have still not been found reports InsidetheGames.

Amongst the destruction is the a training base for wrestlers in Turkey, with Turkish wrestling gold medallist Taha Akgul pleading for "urgent help".

But hope is fading that they will be alive. 

"The building where 30 to 40 of our wrestlers stay in the wrestling club in Kahramanmaraş has also been demolished," Akgul, an Olympic gold medallist in freestyle wrestling at Rio 2016, said.

"Our athletes are under the rubble. 

"We are waiting for urgent help. 

"Help me, my God!"

Akgul received the 2022 Freestyle Wrestler of the Year during the UWW awards, as he is the reigning World and European champion at 125 kilograms.

UWW released the identities of the nine wrestlers who lost their lives as they mourn their deaths.

The nine dead were Mehmet Eskisarili, Ahmet Tas, Ali Gursoy, Eray Simsek, Halil Ecirne, Hasan Sariturk, Ozan Tatli, Ahmet Durman Aslan Ekiz.

"It is with a heavy heart to report we have lost nine wrestlers in the earthquakes that took place on February 6," said UWW President Nenad Lalovic.

"I ask that we remember these wrestlers, say their names aloud and pray for them and their families. 

"The whole entire wrestling community is devastated by the loss of these young men who had a bright future ahead of them."

Turkey had competed in an under-20 wrestling tournament a night before the earthquake happened, alongside France, Uzbekistan and Kosovo. 

All the international competitors managed to avoid the disaster, but the Turkish representatives were unfortunately in the wrestling club when the building collapsed.

A group of 21 wrestlers were quickly saved on the first day, with others freed from the rubble.


Photo Getty Images