For the gold medallist standing on the podium it should have been one of the proudest moments of her life. Instead, it was one of the most baffling, and insulting, as the notes and words of a spoof anthem rang out.
Maria Dmitrienko from Kazakhstan had just been presented with a gold medal for the 75 target event at an international shooting competition when she and spectators were regaled with the spoof Kazakh national anthem from Sacha Baron Cohen's film Borat.
She stood on the podium expecting to hear the rousing words and music of her country's anthem, and held her hand to her heart, only for Baron Cohen's creation to ring out. With phrases like, "Come grasp the mighty penis of our leader," it was perhaps a blessing the song was sung in English rather than her native language. The Kazakh team was, unsurprisingly, outraged at the blunder by the organisers of the 10th Arab Shooting Championship in Kuwait and demanded both an apology and a re-run of the medal ceremony, this time with the right anthem.
Having won their demand for the ceremony to be re-run the team leaders were informed that the Borat anthem had been downloaded from the internet in the mistaken belief it was the authentic anthem.
Anvar Yunusmetov, the coach, told Kazakh news agency Tengrinews that the tournament's organisers had also got the Serbian national anthem wrong. "Then Maria Dmitrienko's turn came," he said. "She got up on to the pedestal and they played a completely different anthem, offensive to Kazakhstan."
Among the lyrics of the spoof are lines claiming that Kazakhstan invented toffee and trousers, and that with the exception of its neighbour Turkmenistan, the country boasts the cleanest prostitutes in the region.
It is not the first time the Kazakh authorities have been riled by the music. The film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan caused such outrage in the country that it was banned. The Kazakh foreign ministry threatened Baron Cohen with legal action for being derogatory about the country but eventually changed tack – inviting him to visit and advertising "the real Kazakhstan" in the United States.
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