Kazakhstani volleyball star Sabina Altynbekova has been recently listed as one of the top nine most beautiful athletes in the said country. However, because of her looks, the watchers and even the coach thinks she’s a distraction in the court.
“It is impossible to work like this,” Nurlan Sadikov, coach of the nation’s under-19 team. “The crowd behaves like there is only one player at the championship.”
Sabina lately became popular online, mostly in Asia. The team’s recent match in Taiwan garnered around hundreds of thousands of views. Even random pictures of her make her fans mesmerized because she evokes a real life Japanese anime character.
But for Sabina, her popularity is both a challenge and a gift. In an interview with Astana Times (Kazakhstan online news site) in 2015, she said that being famous has its pros.
“As for popularity in general, I believe that it is both a challenge and a gift of fate. However, most importantly, people are going to learn more about our country. I have repeatedly stated that in Asia, for example, many people take pictures with our flag and cheer for us,” she said.
Many consider volleyball as one of the most intelligent sports, which is probably one of the reasons why Sabina shared that being drafted in the team is the right choice.
“Indeed, volleyball is one of the fastest sports, in which it is necessary to think, make instant decisions and respond simultaneously, and the ability to do it affects your future on the court,” she said.
“At first, I was invited to [play basketball], but I did not quite like it. Later, having watched volleyball for the first time, I felt that it was my sport and made the right decision,” she added.
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