I recently headed to Mardin, Turkey, for a whole new experience… to work at the World Parkour Championship. I’ve worked for all kinds of events, but with was to be my very first Parkour experience. I wasn’t totally sure what to expect as I landed at Mardin airport… a pretty unique location in south eastern Turkey that would be hosting this WPC tour stop. After having travelled to Turkey several times, I was surprised at how different Mardin felt. As a melting pot of Kurdish, Yezidi, Christian and Syrian cultures, it also has a fascinating cultural mix, and this can really be felt as soon as you arrive.
The event was a challenge, due to the tricky location of the Zincriye Medresesi, the building built in 1385, where we hosted the event. The internet was on and off, and the building was a little sketchy… but the event was a huge success. Due to the great organization and crew, and the amazing vibe of all the 40 athletes who had travelled from 14 different nations to come and participate. It was amazing to see people from US, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey, Switzerland amongst many others. I’ve worked in a lot of events, but seeing the unique vibe and bond that was present for the parkour athletes was something really special.
As I read in a recent article about the event… ” And it is here that parkour becomes something more than either art or sport. It becomes a political statement. Those seeking to pit their abilities against true risks are expressing something that has been largely removed from much of western culture. Health and Safety initiatives have made life safer, but at what cost? Smoking bans, cleaner air, and now sugar taxes might do a great deal of good but it also breeds a psychology that makes it hard for some to understand that all life involves risk. Parkour is one place where the reward is ultimately the product of avoiding absolute and terminal failure. As Belle has said: “Obstacles are found everywhere, and in overcoming them we nourish ourselves”. It’s that nourishment that lies at the heart of what seems from the outside to be crazy and highly irresponsible.”
Im greatly looking forward to the next World Parkour Championship event!
All photos by Kaan Verdioglu
Video by Case Productions