Kazakh volleyball player Sabina Altynbekova has signed up with Japan’s GSS Sunbeam club, Apple Daily reported Tuesday.
Altynbekova, who enjoys a huge fan base thanks partly to her striking looks, will be the first and foremost foreign player to serve in the Japanese team.
She will receive training from October before the team starts playing in Japan’s V.Challenge League the following month.
Altynbekova’s deal with a Japanese club has drawn criticism in her own country, with some Kazakhs deeming it as an act of betrayal of her homeland.
Responding to the criticism, the volleyball star said on social media that serving in the national team and joining a foreign volleyball club are two separate issues.
She also said that she expects her foreign experience to help her contribute more for Kazakhstan’s volleyball.
Altynbekova, a doe-eyed girl who is still in her teens, caught the attention of Hong Kong netizens last year as photos of her during the Asian Junior Women’s Volleyball Championship matches in Taipei went viral.
Forget the looks, Kazakh volleyball star is all about her sport (Dec 29, 2014)
Kazakhstan volleyball stunner wins legions of fans (Jul 23, 2014)
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