Gibraltar’s Kaiane Aldorino was crowned Miss World 2009 in a glittering gala event here this evening, but it was Miss India Pooja Chopra who got some of the loudest applause for bravely taking on the contest with a broken ankle.
Miss Mexico Perla Beltran finished second, and South Africa’s Tatum Keshwar, buoyed by strong support from the home crowd won the third place.
Ms. Chopra also got applause for a video clip showing her efforts to educate girls in India, supporting the save the girl-child initiative.
Ms. Aldorino, an HR Clerk by profession, defeated 111 contestants from across the world to bring her country the Miss World title for the first time.
“Thank you South Africa, this is the most wonderful moment of my life,” said the 22—year old brunette with tears in her eyes after being handed over the crown by the outgoing Miss World Kseniasukhi Nova of Russia.
Former Miss World and Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra was one of the judges in the contest whose final round saw a close contest between seven beauty queens.
Earlier, after winning the Beauty with a Purpose round for her project for the girl child, Ms. Chopra automatically qualified to be in the 17 semi-finalists.
She explained in the video how she had invested a third of the funds she had raised during her reign to give more than 600 girls in India a better education.
“I’m speechless! Thank you, Miss (Julia) Morley (Chairman of the Miss World Pageant),” was all a tearful Chopra said after she beat Miss Barbados and Miss Guatemala in that category.
Later the host of the show asked Chopra to lift her gown to show to television viewers how brave she had been to get onto the ramp despite the splint she was sporting.
However, Ms. Chopra failed to make it to the final seven.
Aldorino was the first ever winner of the prestigious pageant from the island nation of Gibraltar.
Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra added some glamour to the panel of judges at the Miss World Pageant, hosted by the City of Johannesburg as a tourism marketing tool for the second year in a row.
“I’m a lot more nervous than the girls,” Chopra said when asked how she felt about helping decide how the life of one young woman would change forever.
“(Watching them) I remembered every moment when I was up there myself (in 2000),” the former Miss World said.
The last time India won the title was in 200 when Priyanka Chopra brought home the crown.
India has produced five Miss Worlds with Reita Faria winning the title in 1966, followed by Aishwarya Rai in 1994, Diana Hayden in 1997 and Yukta Mookhey 1999, apart from Chopra.
Venezuela and India have produced the maximum number of Miss Worlds — five each.