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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 May, 2003, 14:41 GMT 15:41 UK
Thai women compete to be 'Miss Jumbo'
Nongnuch Paynguleaom (C) celebrates after winning the Miss Jumbo Queen Contest 2003
Winner Nongnuch Paynguleaom (C) said she hoped to inspire others

Thailand staged a beauty contest with a difference on Thursday, when 20 women competed for the title of Miss Jumbo Queen 2003.

The light-hearted contest, which was held to raise money for a Thai elephant charity, was won by 25-year-old nurse Nongnuch Paynguleaom.

Weighing 95kg (209 pounds), Ms Paynguleaom was one of the lightest contestants in the pageant.

She said she hoped to use her position as Miss Jumbo Queen to act as a role model for other women.

"I can encourage others not to feel bad for being fat. If they feel really down, they can use us as examples," she said.

The annual May Day event, held at the Samphran Elephant Ground and Zoo, 60 km west of the capital Bangkok, has gained a reputation for its unusual way of raising awareness for Thailand's elephants.

Each year the newly-crowned queen becomes the official Ambassador of Thai Elephant Conservation, and begins her reign by holding a fruit "banquet" for Samphran Zoo's elephant residents.

Thailand's elephant population is under threat, and experts warn that the 2,200 animals remaining in the wild could be wiped out within 15 years, if efforts are not taken to save them.




SEE ALSO:
Thai jumbo queen hits big time
11 Jul 00  |  Asia-Pacific



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