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With her hand across her heart and a gold medal gleaming round her neck, it should have been the proudest moment of her life.
But as Maria Dmitrienko stood on the podium to hear her national anthem, she soon realised that she would remember it for all the wrong reasons.
Instead of playing My Kazakhstan, hapless organisers of the international shooting tournament in Kuwait mistakenly downloaded the spoof version written by Sacha Baron Cohen for his 2006 film, Borat.
After the first few stirring notes rang out, so, too, did the lyrics “all other countries are run by little girls” and “Kazakhstan’s prostitutes cleanest in the region”.
Although clearly baffled by the blunder, Dmitrienko – to her credit – remained standing as the song continued with “Kazakhstan industry best in the world. We invented toffee and trouser belt.” On Sunday night, furious Kazakh officials demanded an inquiry.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ilyas Omarov said: “It is, of course, a scandal and demands a thorough investigation, which we intend to conduct.”
Dmitrienko’s teammate, Oksana Stavitskaya, said the president of the Asian Shooting Federation, Sheikh Salman al-Sabah, apologised after the embarrassing ceremony.
“He recognised that the use of the music from the scandalous film in place of the anthem of Kazakhstan was completely a mistake of the organisers,” she said.
What should have begun with the words “Sky of golden sun”, started with a reference to the country being the “No 1 exporter of potassium”, with its “Tinshein swimming pool and filtration system a marvel to behold.”
Stunned officials realised their mistake, but not before the spoof anthem’s crescendo of “come grasp the mighty penis of our leader”.
The Kazakh team successfully demanded a re-run of the ceremony but by then the damage had been done.
It is not the first time their anthem has been mistaken for something different.
Officials at a recent skiing event in northern Kazakhstan played the opening bars of Ricky Martin’s Livin’ la Vida Loca. – Daily Mail