Sabina Altynbekova is an 18-year old volleyball player from Kazakhstan. Altynbekova, who stands 6-feet tall, came to Taipei to compete with Kazakhstan in the Asian Under-19 Championships and now South East Asia is obsessed with the teenager. Altynbekova is having a Sharapova-like impact on the coverage of amateur women’s volleyball with anime tributes and fake social media accounts gaining tens of thousands of followers. OK, maybe this is a little different than Maria Sharapova’s rise to prominence a decade ago.
Via The Daily Mail:
Now local media that would normally only write a couple of lines about the competition are devoting 10 page picture features about her and artists are turning out anime fantasies about her.
English-speaking media are scrambling to find out more about Altynbekova, but all anyone seems to be able to come up with are uncredited images (“Like the ones in this post?” Yes, just like those.) and recycled “lists” of why fans are obsessed with the teen.
Every photo of her attracts huge numbers of comments and Facebook pages claiming to represent her are attracting tens of thousands followers, mostly from China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines.
As for Altynbekova, she is flattered, but really wants fans to focus on her on-court accomplishments.
‘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.’
Good luck with that, kid. You belong to the Internet now. The only question now is whether someone else comes along so you can be forgotten or you’re remembered long enough to become overrated. [via Daily Mail]
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