Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Hamza Yerlikaya is a Turkish Greco-Roman style wrestler. He is a two time (in 1996 and 2000) Olympic champion and the only Turkish wrestler to ever become European champion six times. He was named The Wrestler of the Year in 1996 by the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA).
Hamza Yerlikaya was born in June 6, 1976 in Kadıköy , Istanbul, Turkey. His family was originally from Sivas, but they moved to Istanbul three months prior to Hamza's birth. His father Mustafa Yerlikaya is also a wrestler but was no longer active by the time Hamza was born. He started wrestling at age of 11 encouraged by his father and inspired by his elder brother Muttalip Yerlikaya who is also a wrestler with international success.
International wrestling career
Hamza Yerlikaya's first international competition was in 1991 World Cadets Wrestling Championships in Québec, Canada, in which he got the fourth place. His first senior international event was the 1993 European Wrestling Championships in Istanbul where he got the second place, losing to Thomas Zander in the finals. He surprised some of the spectators who thought this was a coincidence by winning the gold medal in 1993 World Wrestling Championship in Stockholm, Sweden at the age of 17, and hence becoming the youngest ever World Champion in wrestling.
As his age allowed, in some years he participated in seniors, juniors as well as cadets events. He won the World Championship again in 1995 and went on to win his first Olympic gold medal in Atlanta 1996 at the age of 20. He repeated his success four years later in Sydney 2000. He won the European Seniors Championship six times (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002).
Affiliations and coaching
- Between years 1986-1996 he was in Istanbul Demirspor club and was coached by Salih Bora and Muzaffer Aydin.
- He did his military service in 1996-1997 and is the only Turkish athlete that won a medal in Olympic Games during military service.
- He was coached by Salih Bora since 1997.
- In years 1998-1999 he was in Emlakbank club.
- Since 1999 he is wrestling for Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.
- Hakki Basar started coaching him in 2004.
- A sports complex in Gaziosmanpasa district of Istanbul is named after him.
- His lastname Yerlikaya literally means native/local (yerli) rock (kaya).
- He is a high school graduate.
- He carried the flag for Turkey at the Sydney 2000 opening ceremony.
Major international achievements
In reverse chronological order:
- 2004 Summer Olympic Games, Seniors 84 kg, 4th
- 2002 World Cup , Seniors 96 kg, 2nd
- 2002 European Championship , Seniors 84 kg, 1st
- 2001 European Championship, Seniors 85 kg, 1st
- 2000 Olympic Games, Seniors 85 kg, 1st
- 1999 European Championship, Seniors 85 kg, 1st
- 1998 World Championship, Seniors 85 kg, 5th
- 1998 European Championship, Seniors 85 kg, 1st
- 1997 World Cup, Seniors 85 kg, 1st
- 1997 World Championship, Seniors 85 kg, 2nd
- 1997 Mediterranean Games, Seniors 85 kg, 1st
- 1997 European Championship, Seniors 85 kg, 1st
- 1996 Olympic Games, Seniors 82 kg, 1st
- 1996 European Championship, Seniors 82 kg, 1st
- 1995 World Championship, Seniors 82 kg, 1st
- 1995 European Championship, Seniors 82 kg, 7th
- 1995 World Championship, Espoir 82 kg, 3rd
- 1994 World Championship, Juniors 88 kg, 1st
- 1994 European Championship, Espoir 82 kg, 1st
- 1994 European Championship, Seniors 82 kg, 5th
- 1993 World Championship, Seniors 82 kg, 1st
- 1993 European Championship, Juniors 81 kg, 1st
- 1993 European Championship, Seniors 82 kg, 2nd
- 1993 Mediterranean Games, Seniors 82 kg, 3rd
- 1992 World Championship, Juniors 74 kg, 2nd
- 1992 World Championship, Cadets 76 kg, 1st
- 1991 World Championship, Cadets 65 kg, 4th
All listed events are Greco-Roman style wrestling.
External links and references
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