The athlete pictured above is 17-year-old Sabina Altynbekova, a volleyball player who plays for Kazakhstan’s youth squad and has recently been competing for her country in the Asian Under-19 Volleyball Championships in Taipei.And obviously, she is a very beautiful young lady. That much is clear. But according to the local media covering the event, “beautiful” and “athlete” does not work well together.Usually the media coverage of the Asian Under-19 Volleyball Championship is the bare minimum, but they soon took notice of Sabina’s model-worthy looks and started dedicating ten-page photo spreads to her.But like clockwork, the same media machine that turned her into a star quickly turned against her and started running articles asking if Sabina was “too beautiful” to play volleyball for her country.”Fans just stare at her and they are not following the championship anymore,” reported Kazakh paper Vesti. Here are just some of the sample headlines regarding the teen and how her beauty is supposedly getting in the way of the game:Asian Volleyball Player Sabina Altynbekova Is So Hot Her Teammates & Coach Are Furious & Feel Unloved (Caught Offside)Sabina Altynbekova Might Be Too Hot For Volleyball? (Crave Online)Kazakh teen volleyball player is turned on by her own teammates because she is so attractive nobody watches the sport anymore (The Daily Mail)The attention surrounding Sabina has been so fervent, her coach Nurlan Sadikov thinks the publicity surrounding his player has become distracting. “It’s impossible to work like this,” Sadikov told Tengrinews. “The crowd behaves like there is only one player at the championship.”Well, now she’s an Internet sensation due to this so-called controversy, amassing thousands and thousands of fans on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.And what does Sabina have to say about all the attention she’s getting? While she insists she’s thankful for the support, she really just wants to do what she does best: play volleyball.”I was flattered at first, but it’s all getting a little bit much, I want to concentrate on playing volleyball and to be famous for that, not anything else.”
OKLAHOMA CITY — The superstar point guard trying to lead a team without its high-scoring forward had his way Wednesday night. Only this time, it wasn’t Russell Westbrook. It was Chris Paul.Paul had 33 points and nine assists, J.J. Redick added 25 points and the Los Angeles Clippers beat Oklahoma City 120-108, ending the Thunder’s seven-game home winning streak.DeAndre Jordan had 18 points and 17 rebounds for the Clippers, who are fighting for a top-four seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Oklahoma City is battling to merely make the field and fell a half-game behind the New Orleans Pelicans in the race for the final playoff spot. “Everyone else talks about all that other stuff. I think CP came into the game thinking, `Let’s beat Oklahoma’ and I think that’s why he played well.”Anthony Morrow came off the bench to score 26 points for the Thunder, who could get Durant back from a foot injury in a week or two, coach Scott Brooks said before the game.Los Angeles went 15 of 30 from behind the arc and controlled the game throughout. Paul went 5 of 8 from 3-point range while Matt Barnes scored 22 points on 6-of-7 shooting on 3s.“All over the floor defensively, we struggled tonight,” Brooks said. “They played a great basketball game. Chris Paul, I thought he had the game under control. . They had their way. The ball was playing with a lot of freedom tonight.”The Clippers jumped to a 28-11 lead, but Morrow led a comeback with five first-half 3-pointers. Oklahoma City tied it at 47 midway through the second quarter, but Paul hit a pair of 3-pointers in the next two minutes as Los Angeles re-established control. The Clippers pushed their lead to 86-66 with 6:53 left in the third quarter on a 3-pointer by Paul. The advantage eventually peaked at 22 points. Oklahoma City came no closer than 13 points the rest of the way. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Both teams are playing for extended stretches without their standout forwards: Kevin Durant for the Thunder, Blake Griffin for the Clippers. In their absence, Paul fared better than his All-Star counterpart. Westbrook, who had recorded triple-doubles in five of Oklahoma City’s previous six games, finished with 24 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and a career-high 10 turnovers. “He’s human, I guess, so he struggled a little bit, which was great,” Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers said. Then he praised Paul.“He’s competitive, so you want to play well in the matchup. You want to always win your matchup. But I think he wants to win the game,” Rivers said.