The athlete pictured above is 17-year-old Sabina Altynbekova, a volleyball player who plays for Kazakhstan’s youth squad and has recently been competing for her country in the Asian Under-19 Volleyball Championships in Taipei.
And obviously, she is a very beautiful young lady. That much is clear. But according to the local media covering the event, “beautiful” and “athlete” does not work well together.
Usually the media coverage of the Asian Under-19 Volleyball Championship is the bare minimum, but they soon took notice of Sabina’s model-worthy looks and started dedicating ten-page photo spreads to her.
But like clockwork, the same media machine that turned her into a star quickly turned against her and started running articles asking if Sabina was “too beautiful” to play volleyball for her country.
“Fans just stare at her and they are not following the championship anymore,” reported Kazakh paper Vesti.
Here are just some of the sample headlines regarding the teen and how her beauty is supposedly getting in the way of the game:
Asian Volleyball Player Sabina Altynbekova Is So Hot Her Teammates & Coach Are Furious & Feel Unloved (Caught Offside)
Sabina Altynbekova Might Be Too Hot For Volleyball? (Crave Online)
Kazakh teen volleyball player is turned on by her own teammates because she is so attractive nobody watches the sport anymore (The Daily Mail)
The attention surrounding Sabina has been so fervent, her coach Nurlan Sadikov thinks the publicity surrounding his player has become distracting.
“It’s impossible to work like this,” Sadikov told Tengrinews. “The crowd behaves like there is only one player at the championship.”
Well, now she’s an Internet sensation due to this so-called controversy, amassing thousands and thousands of fans on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
And what does Sabina have to say about all the attention she’s getting? While she 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, I want to concentrate on playing volleyball and to be famous for that, not anything else.”