Mireia Lalaguna Royo from Spain won the Miss World 2015 competition Saturday night, an event dogged by controversy over China’s refusal to allow Canada’s entrant to attend.
Rolene Strauss of South Africa crowned Ms Lalaguna Royo as her successor at the end of the event.
The 1st runner up slot went to Russia’s Sofia Nikitchuk while the 2nd runner up position was taken by Indonesia’s Maria Harfanti.
Lebanon’s Valerie Abou Chacraand and Jamaica’s Sanneta Myrie came in fourth and fifth respectively to wrap the top 5.
Each contestant had won the right to represent their country in a series of local and regional competitions.
The triumph marked Spain’s first-ever win in the global pageant.
Lalaguna, 23, is a model from Barcelona and a pharmacology graduate. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in nutrition.
The beauty was placed first in the competition’s top model contest and appeared to impress the judges with her public speaking.
Not present was Miss Canada, Chinese-born Anastasia Lin, who had been prevented from boarding her connecting flight to Sanya from Hong Kong last month after China refused her a visa.
Ms Lin is an outspoken critic of Chinese religious policies and a follower of the Falun Gong meditation practice, which was outlawed by China in 1999.
She said that after she won the Canadian title, Chinese security agents visited her father, who still lives in China, in an apparent attempt to intimidate her into silence, says thestar.com
Neither Beijing nor the London-based Miss World Organization has commented on the controversy.
China has hosted the competition seven times; starting in 2003, part of its attempts to project a more modern, outgoing image.
It was the second consecutive year that outside events intruded on the competition.
Last year’s contest in London was marred by the murder the month before of Miss Honduras and her sister in that country.
Kenya’s representative Charity Mwangi did not make it to the top 20 in the competition; but at least made a statement in the Sports and Fitness category where she came in at 18th position. Miss Namibia Steffi Van Wyk emerged the winner in this category.
South Africa’s Liesl Laurie who bagged the tenth position in the Miss World 2015 contest is Africa’s top beauty queen. South Sudan’s Ajaa Monchol who came second in Africa rounded up top 20 finish in the Miss World 2015 pageant.
The first Miss World contest was held 64 years ago in Britain.