She’s so hot she’s making fans forget why they came to watch.
Sabina Altynbekova, an 18-year-old volleyball player from Kazakhstan, has everyone talking, but not about her setting skills.
Altynbekova competed for Kazakhstan in the Asian Under-19 Championships this month in Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, and she’s been catching a hard time from her teammates for being a distraction.
Local media have devoted 10-page features and artists have already produced anime fantasies of her.
Nurlan Sadikov, Kazakhstans’s Under-19 national team coach, told Tengrin News,
It is impossible to work like this, the crowd behaves like there is only one player at the championship.
Vesti, a Kazakh daily paper, commented on the obsession with her:
[F]ans just stare at her and they are not following the championship anymore.
Despite complaints, South East Asia’s infatuation with Altynbekova is unhindered.
Facebook pages claiming to be her are drawing thousands of followers from Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines, and every photo of her attracts hefty amounts of comments and likes.
I want to concentrate on playing volleyball and to be famous for that, not anything else. I was flattered at first but it’s getting a little bit much.
Altynbekova has pleaded to fans to focus on volleyball and stop making social media pages celebrating her.
Fans aren't showing up early to watch volleyball warmups. That’s for sure.
pic.twitter.com/yD5FPt9j3B — Sabina Altynbekova (@altynbekova_20) July 24, 2014
Once again thank you all pic.twitter.com/Xo0jIXzVnx — Sabina Altynbekova (@altynbekova_20) July 24, 2014
The success of the need to work hard pic.twitter.com/LNpIxD1QwU — Sabina Altynbekova (@altynbekova_20) July 23, 2014
pic.twitter.com/yT1EjXctCC — Sabina Altynbekova (@altynbekova_20) July 23, 2014
When going back home to Kazakhstan #Kazakh #LoveSabinaltynbekova f pic.twitter.com/KWsuGtogrN — Sabina Altynbekova (@altynbekova_20) July 26, 2014
my new twitter picture pic.twitter.com/7KApilI3w1 — Sabina Altynbekova (@altynbekova_20) July 26, 2014