6’10” (2.06m) Nelly Alisheva, who in 2013 received a certificate from the Guiness Book of Records declaring her the tallest woman in Russia, has resumed her volleyball career with ProtonVolley. Alisheva retired last year after a career with MGFSO, Dinamo Moscow, and Dynamo-Yantar, missed the 2015-2016 season with an injury, and then in 2017 wound up retiring.
Last year, Alisheva worked as a fitness instructor, and in April attempted to return to the sport with Russian “Major League A” league team Lipetsk-Indesit in the 2nd tier of Russian volleyball, the club declined, saying that after a year-and-a-half off the court, they didn’t trust Alisheva’s conditioning.
But in Saratov, in the top Russian league, Alisheva was given a chance in training with Proton volley, where with a new coach, Igor Karpov, Proton has swapped out almost half of its roster for the 2018-2019 season.
The team finished 6th in the 12-team Russian Super League last season, winning 8 of its 18 matches.
Alisheva is expected to play at opposite for Proton when the season begins on October 27th, after the conclusion of the World Championships. Alisheva previously played for Protom in the 2014-2015 season.
Russia has a history of fielding very tall female athletes – their 2008 Olympic bronze medal winning basketball team included Yekaterina Lisina, who stands 6’9″ and has Guiness World Records as the world’s tallest professional model and as the woman with the world’s longest legs (52.4″). In the 1980s, Uljana Semjonova, who played for the Soviet team, was one of the world’s leading basketball players at just over 7 feet (217cm) tall. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Semjonova now has Latvian nationality, allowing Alisheva the title of tallest Russian woman.
The tallest woman to ever have her height reliably recorded was Zeng Jinlian, who stood 8 feet, 1.75 inches (2.43m) tall. She lived from 1964 until 1982.