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‘Zehra Gunes marry me’: Turkish volleyball player goes viral in Olympic defeat

Turkish volleyball player Zehra Gunes’ fan club has grown exponentially since her Olympic debut.

The 22-year-old’s name began trending on Twitter amid the Turkish team’s nail-biting loss to South Korea Wednesday in the women’s volleyball quarterfinals. Turkey failed to punch a ticket to the semifinals after the two-hour and 17-minute match.

While fans praised Gunes for her performance in Tokyo and her overall skills, some were distracted by her striking appearance. One fan with a crush even declared, “Zehra Gunes marry me,” in reference to the 6-foot-6 Turkish athlete, who sports No. 18.

Gunes’ team shared a photo of the Olympic team with the caption, “We love you” after the tough loss.

Gunes, who joined the Turkish national volleyball team in 2018, also plays for club Vakıfbank. In 2017, she and the Turkish women’s U23 team won the title at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s U23 World Championship in Slovenia.

When Gunes isn’t focused on her sport, the Nike athlete enjoys the beach, fashion and traveling with friends, according to a variety of Instagram posts. Gunes, who has over 1 million followers on the app, has become an influencer outside of volleyball — collaborating with brands including L’Oreal and Mercedes.

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