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Ceremony Plays 'Borat' Anthem By Mistake

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Kazakhstan won the game but lost the award ceremony. A parody of the country's national anthem was played by mistake after a Kazakh athlete won a gold medal. Organizers of the shooting competition in Kuwait are apologizing for playing the Kazakhstan anthem from the comedy movie Borat. Robert Siegel and Audie Cornish explain.


This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.


And I'm Robert Siegel. Kazakhstan just can't seem to catch a break. One of the country's athletes won a gold medal yesterday at an international shooting competition in Kuwait. At the award ceremony, Kazakhstan's winner stood atop the podium, placed her hand over her heart and stood for her country's national anthem.


UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Singing) the world. We invented toffee and the trouser belt. Kazakhstan, prostitutes cleanest in the region, except of course for Turkmenistan's.

CORNISH: But hold on a second. That anthem sounds like something from this guy.


SACHA BARON COHEN: (as Borat Sagdiyev) My name is Borat. I come from Kazakhstan. Can I say first...

CORNISH: Yes. That's Borat, otherwise known as British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. His fictional Kazakh character was the centerpiece of the 2006 movie called "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan." His film was a hit in the U.S., but it got a big thumbs down from the real Kazakhstan.

SIEGEL: And no wonder, considering Borat's peculiar and extremely crude version of a Kazakh national anthem.


COHEN: (as Borat Sagdiyev) (Singing) Kazakhstan is the greatest country in the world. All other countries are run by little girls. Kazakhstan...

SIEGEL: At the shooting competition in Kuwait, the award ceremony officials apparently picked the wrong Kazakh national anthem.

CORNISH: Very wrong, with lyrics such as Kazakhstan, number one exporter of potassium. Other countries have inferior potassium.

SIEGEL: And these are some of the least tasteless lyrics. Our filtration system is a marvel to behold. It removes 80 percent of human solid waste.

CORNISH: Needless to say, Kazakhstan's team asked its Kuwaiti hosts for an apology and got it. The medal ceremony was redone later. This time, without Borat, who surely is smiling today.

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