Dozens of Turkish athletes for games such as football, volleyball, handball and wrestling were buried under the rubble of homes and hotels after landslides caused by the 7.7-magnitude earthquake that has already left nearly 1,800 dead.
Among the victims was the goalkeeper of Yeni Malatyaspor from the Turkish second-division soccer league, Ahmet Ayoub Turk Arslan, who was trapped – according to Turkish media – under the rubble of a building in the city of Malatya, where he was with his rescued wife.
The fate of most of the men’s volleyball team from this city in eastern Anatolia, which plays in the Turkish second division, is also unknown. The players are now in the rubble of the Kerkoval Hotel where they were staying. Three team members were rescued.
In the same situation, there are fourteen players from the Hatay women’s volleyball team from the city of the same name, which is the capital of the province in the far south of Turkey, and players from the Turkish second-division Marasspor team.
Turkish national coach and Olympic wrestling medalist Taha Akgül wrote on Twitter that between thirty and forty athletes from the wrestling team from the city of Kahramanmaras – the capital of the province of the same name in southeastern Anatolia – are trapped under the rubble and need urgent help.
The tragedy also affected handball. According to a statement issued by the Turkish Handball Federation, Turkish international handball player Cemal Kutahya and Hatayspor coach Savas Yuksel are under the rubble of a collapsed building in Hatay. Rescue teams are trying to save them.
The epicenter of the strong quake was located in Pazarcic in Kahramanmaras province, according to the Turkish emergency service.
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