MOSCOW (AP) – Kazakhstan has called the playing of a spoof of its national anthem at an international sporting event “a scandal” and demanded an investigation of the incident.
Maria Dmitrienko won a gold medal for Kazakhstan on Thursday at the Arab Shooting Championships in Kuwait, but during the award ceremony the public address system broadcast the spoof anthem from the 2006 movie “Borat,” which offended many Kazakhs by portraying the country as backward and degenerate.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ilyas Omarov told the ITAR-Tass news agency the incident “is, of course, a scandal and demands a thorough investigation, which we intend to conduct.”
ITAR-Tass quoted shooting team member Oksana Stavitskaya as saying that Asian Shooting Federation President Sheikh Salman al-Sabah had apologized to the team.
“Sheikh Salman personally apologized to us. He recognized that the use of the music from the scandalous film in place of the anthem of Kazakhstan was completely a mistake of the organizers. He explained that the awards ceremony was conducted by a firm under contract,” Stavitskaya said.
The Kazakh news agency Tengri quoted team coach Anvar Yunusmetov as saying tournament organizers had downloaded various countries’ national anthems from the Internet.
Later on Saturday, the event’s organizers in Kuwait also apologized to the Kazakh delegation regarding the “unintentional” mistake of playing the “wrong national anthem” during the awards ceremony, according to the statement published on the state-owned Kuwait News Agency.
The Organizing Committee, in a statement, said the mistake was corrected and the national anthem of Kazakhstan was replayed afterward. The committee expressed “deep sorrow” for the mistake and reaffirmed that ties between the sporting communities of the two countries remained strong.