Towering above all teammates and opponents, at just two centimetres shy of two metres, Polina Rahimova has been an imposing figure across the world for the past decade, powering the national team of Azerbaijan and all the clubs she's ever played for.
Rahimova was born in Uzbekistan just days before the former Soviet Republic declared its independence in 1990, but grew up and had her first contact with volleyball in the Ukraine, before settling as a teenager in Azerbaijan where she began to make a name for herself in various clubs as well as the national team of the country where she finally settled.
Rahimova has since played in Korea, Japan (where she is remembered for scoring 58 points in one game - considered by many as a world record), Turkey and Italy, before moving last year to Brazil.
She may have quit the Azerbaijan national team earlier this year after the European qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, but the 30-year-old continues her career across the ocean in the Brazilian Superleague.
"I do have many good memories from my 13 years with the national team," Rahimova said upon announcing her retirement. "I will now end my international career because I am playing in Brazil, and it takes a lot of effort to travel from the other side of the world and adjust in a short time to a different environment and to the needs of the group. However, the memories of my time with Team Azerbaijan will stay with me forever."
And following a very recent close encounter with the coronavirus, which put her in isolation, Rahimova is more than ready to carry on in her second season with Sesi Volei Bauru, back on court and fighting, amongst the leagues top scorers.
Having picked up numerous MVP awards throughout her career in Japan, as well as at the 2016 European League, Rahimova is still looking for more and she's showing the resilience and hunger to add to her collection of medals.
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