ONTD Political

Is Kazakhstan teen volleyball player Sabina Altynbekova too beautiful?

9:47 pm - 07/28/2014

If soccer is "the beautiful game," has a teenager from Kazakhstan turned volleyball into the "too-beautiful game?"

Critics are saying Sabina Altynbekova, described by various media outlets as either 17 or 18 years old, is so attractive that it's a distraction to the sport. Even her teammates have noticed the adoration, and one report says Kazakhstan coach Nurlan Sadikov believed fans weren't even watching the games during a recent competition in Taiwan and instead just stared at her.

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

The Straits-Times reported that Taiwanese fans were holding Kazakhstan flags and arriving an hour early to follow her every move.

Videos of Altynbekova abound on YouTube. One four-minute clip posted just last week is up over 550,000 views.

The attention -- think Anna Kournikova minus the racket -- has even begun to get to Altynbekova. The Daily Mail reports she has asked admirers to stop setting up pages about her on social media sites.

"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 anything else."

According to Huffington Post, Altynbekova's mother was holding out hope Sabina would choose law school instead of a career in sports. She added that her daughter has been asked to model.

"But she will not go there -- we as parents are against (it)," Nuripa Amrievna said.


Because beautiful women can't have a career that's not focused on their looks. Then they're a "distraction". Or if they're having a career based on their looks they're dubbed too dumb to do anything else. It's a fucking trap.
scolaro 28th-Jul-2014 07:22 pm (UTC)
Volleyball bores me to tears, I don't get how anyone can watch a whole game just to stare at one particular player.
Hopefully people will get used to her looks and she'll be able to continue with her life and career without all the weird attention.
(It's funny, I personally find the young woman from 0:42 - Natasha? - cuter than her, she has a really nice smile.)
soleiltropiques 28th-Jul-2014 08:18 pm (UTC)
I personally rather think the crucial point here is that female athletes -regardless of the sport- get zero respect for their accomplishments.
roseembolism 28th-Jul-2014 07:33 pm (UTC)
Um, she's attractive, but enough to district a volleyball game? Nun-uh. That makes zero sense.

Sports fans are weird.
soleiltropiques 28th-Jul-2014 08:17 pm (UTC)
And sexist too. Because they would never do this to a male athlete (or the dynamic would be WAY different, anyways).

Edited at 2014-07-28 08:17 pm (UTC)
executivehpfan 28th-Jul-2014 08:13 pm (UTC)
I just...what.
soleiltropiques 28th-Jul-2014 08:16 pm (UTC)
How horrible that she can't just enjoy being a high-level athlete without all this sexist bullshite.

Unfortunately no one takes female athletes seriously, no matter what they do.

lafinjack 28th-Jul-2014 08:34 pm (UTC)
squidger 28th-Jul-2014 08:46 pm (UTC)
It makes me sad that the first two comments here are along the lines of "She's not that cute."
eveofrevolution 28th-Jul-2014 09:10 pm (UTC)
And sadly, I'm not that surprised. I figured there would be something like that in here.
lied_ohne_worte 28th-Jul-2014 09:42 pm (UTC)
Hm, and here I am thinking that if people can't watch the game for staring at her, that should be those people's problem, rather than hers or her teams. Whom exactly are those "critics" criticising, and what do they suggest should be done? It's not her fault that she looks as she looks, or do they want to take her out of the game as "punishment"?

Honestly, plenty of people can appreciate athletes' looks and their sports. It's not female athletes themselves who decide to put looks over skill. Just look at this gem (Sepp Blatter, president of FIFA, 2004):

"Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball. They could, for example, have tighter shorts. Female players are pretty, if you excuse me for saying so, and they already have some different rules to men - such as playing with a lighter ball*. That decision was taken to create a more female aesthetic, so why not do it in fashion?

* They play with the same ball, but how could the chief of the world's football association know that?]
layweed 28th-Jul-2014 09:56 pm (UTC)
Why do I get the feeling if Sepp Blatter could do the soccer version of the Lingerie Football League...he would?
layweed 28th-Jul-2014 09:44 pm (UTC)
The kind of creeper comments that I've seen from people on FB about her are really...ugh. I thought my friends were better than that. I guess not.
astridmyrna 28th-Jul-2014 11:57 pm (UTC)
Because beautiful women can't have a career that's not focused on their looks. Then they're a "distraction". Or if they're having a career based on their looks they're dubbed too dumb to do anything else. It's a fucking trap.

This truth right here.
brittlesmile 29th-Jul-2014 03:05 am (UTC)
And yet women's sports are pretty frequently sold to men based on the attractiveness of the athletes! So it's like "Let us capitalize on your youth & beauty to drive ratings and sponsors to the sport, stringing you along w/ the notion that being the sporty pin-up girl is one of the few shots you've got to actually make enough money to keep playing at this level, then remind you that you cannot be taken seriously as an athlete b/c so many of your fans like you only because of your looks!".

I don't begrudge the women athletes who capitalize on the attention their looks get them, b/c it is really dang hard for women to make money doing sports, but I really happy that Altynbekova was able to say that this kind of attention isn't what she wants. I think a lot of young women in sports get told & end up believing that marketing their looks is the only way they can be successful, so it takes a lot of courage & faith in herself to say that she will do it through her athletic abilities.
nope_de_plume 29th-Jul-2014 04:42 am (UTC)
I constantly hear men complaining that female athletes are too buff and 'joking' that they MUST be guys in drag

Apparently even if you are conventionally attractive you're doing it wrong

there's no way to win
ar_feiniel_ 29th-Jul-2014 05:30 pm (UTC)
People are crazy.

She is beautiful though. I know the modeling industry is fucked, but there's money to be made there. If I had those looks I'd look into it (unless her family is rich, in which case there's no need).
squidger 29th-Jul-2014 07:15 pm (UTC)
Um what.
nycscribbler 30th-Jul-2014 04:59 am (UTC)
Sheesh. Poor kid. Poor, poor kid. (And yes, kid. It's the U-18 competition, for fuck's sake.)

Unfortunately, volleyball's combination of short shorts and long legs tends to attract people who just want to stare. Plus, since it's much less of a contact sport than most women's sports that are widely competed in, it's perceived as more feminine. (Apparently, at least in NorCal, there are coaches who play the "basketball is full of scary butch lesbians, come play volleyball and look pretty!" card, but I'm hearing this second-hand from a coach out there.)

Frustrated women's basketball fan here could write screeds about the fixation on women's looks in sports, as opposed to them actually, y'know, sportsing.
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