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Kazakhstan lodges complaint over gaffe

Kazakhstan,Sports, Tue, 27 Mar 2012 IANS

Astana, March 27 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Kazakhstan has lodged an official complaint with the Olympic Council of Asia over Kuwait's usage of music from the spoof "Borat" movie instead of its national anthem at a medal ceremony last week, a sports official told RIA Novosti Tuesday.


The complaint comes despite numerous reported apologies from Kuwaiti officials for the gaffe, made during the awards ceremony last Thursday at the Arab Shooting Championships tournament.


Maria Dmitrienko of Kazakhstan won a gold medal, but was seen to bite her lip from the top of the podium as the spoof national anthem rang out extolling the virtues of Kazakh prostitutes, and discussing "Jew town" and the genitals of the country's leader.


Amateur footage of the blunder went viral on video-sharing sites, causing embarrassment in Kazakhstan, which in 2006 banned the distribution of the film, Sacha Baron Cohen's mockumentary "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan".


Kuwaiti officials reportedly claimed an honest mistake in downloading the wrong version from the Internet, apologized profusely and played the correct anthem immediately afterward.


But Taglat Yermegiayev, the head of a sub-section of Kazakhstan's sports ministry, said Tuesday that the country had filed a complaint to the Olympic Council of Asia through diplomatic channels.


"The responsibility for the incident lies with the organizing committee of the country where the competition took place," Yermegiayev said. "In conducting an event of this level, the committee must obtain the official anthem, and that anthem must be played. We have sent a complaint via the foreign ministry."


Yermegiayev lamented that lessons had not been learned from last year's controversy in Paris, where France's Sports Minister David Douillet was forced to apologize for playing the Soviet version of Kazakhstan's national anthem at the World Weightlifting Championships.


"After this, it was made clear to everyone that our anthem should be observed properly. Unfortunately, what happened was a very (unpleasant) incident," he said.


In early March, the Kazakh anthem was replaced at a local ski tournament with "Livin' La Vida Loca", a Latino pop ditty by Ricky Martin, though the mistake was more obvious and was corrected within seconds.


--IANS/RIA Novosti




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