October 10, 1989 |
|Alma mater||Aksaray University|
|Height||1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|Weight||120 kg (260 lb)|
|Club||Ankara ASKI Spor Kulübü|
|Coached by||Mehmet Akif Pirim|
|Achievements and titles|
Rıza Kayaalp (pronounced [ɾɯˈza kajaˈaɫp]; born 10 October 1989 in Yozgat) is a world and 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  and a figure of controversy and criticism in Turkey due to his overtly racist statements.
He won a gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling (men's 120 kg division) at the 2009 Mediterranean Games. He is also a world champion, beating Mijaín López on the finals of the 2011 World Wrestling Championships in Istanbul, Turkey.
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.
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.
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. Kayaalp went on to win a bronze medal at the World Championships.
- "Rıza Kayaalp Dünya Şampiyonu". A Haber (in Turkish). 2011-09-13. Retrieved 2011-09-14.
- Mediterranean Games 2009: Wrestling – KAYAALP Riza (2009). Retrieved on 22 January 2011.
- "Kayaalp: "Kimseden çekinmiyorum"". Hürriyet Spor (in Turkish). 2012-05-10. Retrieved 2012-05-12.
- "17. Akdeniz Oyunları'nın resmi açılışı gerçekleşti". Hürriyet (in Turkish). 2013-06-20. Retrieved 2013-06-21.
- "Turkish wrestler suspended six months for racist tweets". Hürriyet. 12 August 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
- "Turkish wrestling authority stands by athlete who was banned for racist tweets". Hürriyet. 13 August 2013. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- "Turkish wrestler shamed in Twitter ring avoids count on racism ban for now". Hürriyet. 13 August 2013. Retrieved 13 August 2013.