A teenage volleyball player from Kazakhstan has become an online sensation, but it’s not because of her skills. It’s because of her looks.
Sabina Altynbekova, a volleyball player for Kazakhstan in the Asian Under-19 Championships has been criticized for “being too attractive” to play volleyball.
Her coach Nurlan Sadikov even said that their team is “hampered’ by Altynbekova. “It’s impossible to work like this. The crowd behaves like there is only one player at the championship.” On the Kazakh paper Vesti, critics also say, “Fans just stare at her and they are not following the championship anymore.”
Altynbekova has garnered fans from around the world—mostly China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines—who obsessively watch videos of her playing volleyball and hanging with her teammates. Some of the videos have amassed more than one million views in less than a week.
Sabina Altynbekova recently entered Kazakh University for Humanities and Law. She has been getting modeling offers but her parents are against it.
While Sabina insists she’s thankful for the support, she really just wants to do what she does best: play volleyball.
“I was flattered at first, but it’s all getting a little bit much,” she told the Daily Mail. “I want to concentrate on playing volleyball and to be famous for that, not anything else.”