CROWNING GLORY: Miss World Ksenya Sukhinova of Russia[C] flanked by Parvathy Omanakuttan of India[L] and Gabriel Walcott from Trinidad and Tobago in Johannesburg[R] on Saturday.
Johannesburg: Russia's Ksenya Sukhinova was on Saturday crowned Miss World 2008 after beating scores of international beauties, including India's Parvathy Omanakuttan who finished first runners up, at a glittering African extravaganza held here.
"Miss World 2008 is Russia," announced Julia Morley, head of the Miss World committee that organises the event.
The 21-year-old Parvathy, who hails from Kottayam in Kerala, narrowly missed out on joining five Indian glamour queens Reita Faria (1966), Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan (1994), Diana Hayden (1997), Yukta Mookhey (1999) and Priyanka Chopra (2000) who had won the title.
The second runners up was Gabriel Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago.
More than 100 international beauties participated in this year's Miss World pageant, hosted by South Africa.
Sukhinova, who took over the title from Zhang Zi Lin of China to become the 58th Miss World, was crowned after a two-hour long spectacle that combined elements of travelogue and reality show. She beamed as she was crowned.
Sukhinova also had won the contest's top model award and was third in the swimsuit competition. Miss South Africa Tansey Coetzee had made it to the final five.
"I think I can help people and I want to help people and today if I walk away with this crown I will do that," Sukhinova told judges through a translator after being asked why she should be crowned the winner.
India's Parvathy, who had won the Miss femina contest in April this year, said: "In India and South Africa people are warm and warm-hearted. I felt at home in Johannesburg."
"Presence of two great leaders Mahatma Gandhi (India) and Nelson Mandela (South Africa) have influenced millions of people in both the countries," she said.
Asked About her experience in the beauty pageant, the 5 feet 9 inches tall dusky beauty said: "It is a great journey for me."
South Africa, who hosted the event for the sixth time, became the country that has held more Miss World pageants than any other. The event was broadcast to millions of viewers in 187 countries.
Beauties from 109 countries were whittled down to 15 semi-finalists with India, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, Angola and South Africa named the five finalists as the audience willed their favourite to go forward. -- PTI