Rıza Kayaalp

Rıza Kayaalp (pronounced [ɾɯˈza kajaˈaɫp]; born 10 October 1989 in Yozgat) is a four times world and eight times European champion Turkish wrestler competing in the 120 kg division of Greco-Roman wrestling. Currently, he is a student of physical education and sports at the Aksaray University.[1]

Rıza Kayaalp
Rıza Kayaalp.jpg
Personal information
Born (1989-10-10) October 10, 1989 (age 30)
Yozgat, Turkey
ResidenceAksaray, Turkey
EducationPhysical education
Alma materAksaray University
Height1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)
Weight130 kg (287 lb)
Country Turkey
ClubAnkara ASKI Spor Kulübü
Turned pro2007–present
Coached byMehmet Akif Pirim
Achievements and titles
World finals
Regional finals
Olympic finals

Wrestling CareerEdit

He won a gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling (men's 120 kg division) at the 2009 Mediterranean Games.[2] He is also a world champion, beating Mijaín López on the finals of the 2011 World Wrestling Championships in Istanbul, Turkey.

Rıza Kayaalp qualified for participation at the 2012 Summer Olympics,[3] where he won bronze medal at Greco-Roman style in 120 kg. He competed at the Wrestling at the 2016 Summer Olympics – Men's Greco-Roman 130 kg, winning the silver medal.[4]

He was the flag bearer of Turkey at the opening ceremony of the 2013 Mediterranean Games held on June 20 in Mersin.[5]


Kayaalp was given an immediate suspension of six months by the FILA judge for racist remarks against Armenians and Greeks in August 2013, notably missing the 2013 Wrestling World Championships. He had targeted Greeks and Armenians in his tweets posted about the Gezi Park protests, advocating that “Armenians” were at the root of the Gezi protests in a series of tweets he later deleted after a reaction from the media. His tweets included: “You just leave the streets to Armenians, you f**ing looters” and “F**k you traitors”. FILA President Nenad Lalovic stated that he was shocked by Kayaalp's behavior.[6]

Turkish Wrestling Federation Chairman Hamza Yerlikaya defended Kayaalp and called the ban “unlawful”. Yerlikaya appealed the ban to FILA and vowed to take the issue to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if it was not successful. He claimed the statements were not racist and that Kayaalp was not the one who had written the tweets. However, Kayaalp stated in an interview that he was “misunderstood”, thereby admitting that the tweets were in fact written by him.[7]

FILA later agreed to delay the suspension so that Kayaalp could compete at the 2013 World Wrestling Championships, after which time no major tournaments will take place in six months.[8] Kayaalp went on to win a silver medal at the World Championships.


  1. ^ "Rıza Kayaalp Dünya Şampiyonu". A Haber (in Turkish). 2011-09-13. Retrieved 2011-09-14.
  2. ^ Mediterranean Games 2009: Wrestling – KAYAALP Riza (2009). Retrieved on 22 January 2011.
  3. ^ "Kayaalp: "Kimseden çekinmiyorum"". Hürriyet Spor (in Turkish). 2012-05-10. Retrieved 2012-05-12.
  4. ^ "Rıza Kayaalp Bio, Stats, and Results". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  5. ^ "17. Akdeniz Oyunları'nın resmi açılışı gerçekleşti". Hürriyet (in Turkish). 2013-06-20. Retrieved 2013-06-21.
  6. ^ "Turkish wrestler suspended six months for racist tweets". Hürriyet. 12 August 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  7. ^ "Turkish wrestling authority stands by athlete who was banned for racist tweets". Hürriyet. 13 August 2013. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  8. ^ "Turkish wrestler shamed in Twitter ring avoids count on racism ban for now". Hürriyet. 13 August 2013. Retrieved 13 August 2013.

External linksEdit

Olympic Games
Preceded by
Neslihan Demir
Flagbearer for   Turkey
Rio de Janeiro 2016
Succeeded by