According to this ghastly headline and article on MailOnline, a Kazakh volleyball player was given a tough time by her own team because her looks have received more media attention than the competition they were taking part in.
The Kazakhstan side was in Taiwan for the Asian under-19 championship, which would normally receive about as much coverage as you’d expect it to, but coverage of this year’s tournament was dominated by the attention heaped upon 18-year-old player Sabina Altynbekova after images of her went viral in the region.
According to the article, “respected” (their description) Kazakh newspaper Vesti have mentioned how this Sabina-mania took over the tournament: “Fans just stare at her and are to following the championship any more”.
Oh, piss off. Now we don’t know how many fans this tournament would have attracted beforehand, but surely it was a whole lot more than before this obsession took off.
Team coach Nurlan Sadikov told Tengin News: “It’s impossible to work like this,
“The crowd behaves like there’s only one player at the championship.”
One can only imagine that a sizeable percentage of the crowd was in attendance for the same reason as the Daily Mail non-story - good old-fashioned creeping on female athletes and/or spectators.
Naturally, the complaints have had absolutely no effect on the level of attention she has received in the region, because perverts.
Altynbekova said she has been flattered by the attention but wants to be known as a volleyball player above anything else “I was flattered at first but it’s all getting a little bit much,” she said.
“I want to concentrate on playing volleyball and to be famous for that, not for anything else.”
Honourable sentiments, but that may never be the case. We’re sure you’re dying to find out how Sabina and her teammates did in Taiwan: They finished dead last in their group and ended the competition in 7th place of 15 teams – hardly the fault of the unexpected attention, despite the coach’s excuses.
Speaking of major tournaments and people being made popular for reasons not exactly related to sporting ability, take a look at our account of the Pervy Cameraman’s World Cup adventure.