Kazakhstan's Sabina Altynbekova: Who Says She's Too Pretty For Volleyball?

Dan Harkins

Kazakhstan volleyball player Sabina Altynbekova: yet another reason to feel sorry for the beautiful people out there.

While playing on Kazakhstan's national team in the Asian Under-19 Championships, Sabina has garnered all the attention and none of it has much to do with whether she can actually play volleyball.

Sure, Altynbekova's got that lanky frame not uncommon among volleyballers, but she's also got an angelic set of puppy dog eyes nested into the face of a China doll. Add to that a powerful athletic temperament and even her teammates and coach are starting to get peeved.

Coach Nurlan Sadikov wishes fans would start paying more attention to the actual volleyball games instead of Sabina, according to Yahoo Sports.

"It is impossible to work like this," he said. "The crowd behaves like there is only one player at the championship."

And that's not an exaggeration. Reports Vesti, a Kazakhstan newspaper: "Fans just stare at her and they are not following the championship any more."

Altynbekova, just 18, has expressed nothing but a modest amount of embarrassment over the flap. Poor Sabina.

"I was flattered at first, but it's all getting a little bit much," said Altynbekova. "I want to concentrate on playing volleyball and to be famous for that, not anything else."

Good luck with that in this viral age of ours. And besides: Who even knew that Kazakhstan even had a volleyball team before all this attention came along for its hottest player?

You could try to avoid the way Sabina looks and just focus on the game. Or you could get to know her a little better and fall even more deeply in love.

According to International Business News (they report on this stuff?), Altynbekova already has four fan pages awash with flattering photos and videos.

Though two are community pages and the other two are purportedly by and for athletes, just try and find an unflattering view of her on any of the four of them.

In just a few months, she's amassed more than 91,000 likes on one of those pages. Her stats are actually quite flattering across the viral spectrum. Twitter followers: 19,000. YouTube views for one of her videos: 344,000. For another: 238,000.

But keep in mind: The 6-foot-tall Sabina hails from a family of athletes, so she's probably being honest when she says she'd rather just focus on the game. Her mother was in track and field, and her father was a skier.

But who cares about all that? Here's one of the YouTube videos providing an angle-by-angle view of her, um, skills on the court:

[Image courtesy of Segnorasque]