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Thursday, 30 May, 2002, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
'Blushing' Russian crowned Miss Universe
The new Miss Universe Oxana Fedorova (r) and runner-up Justine Pasek
Oxana Federova (r) gasped at news of her win
A 24-year-old postgraduate student from Russia, Oxana Federova, has been crowned Miss Universe at a glittering ceremony in Puerto Rico.


I am completely shocked

New Miss Universe
It is the first time Russia has clinched the title in the competition's history.

Black-haired Federova from St Petersburg - who is 1.8 metres tall (5'11") - triumphed after a gala night of parades in swimsuits and evening gowns.

The Russian beauty finished ahead of Miss Panama, Justine Pasek.

While third place was scooped by Ling Zhuo of China, which was taking part for the first time.

Most Arab nations were not represented, preferring not to compete against Miss Israel - army soldier Yamit Har-Noy.

Blushing beauty

In the final interview section of the competition - which dodges politics and controversy - Miss Russia provoked laughter among the audience.

Asked what made her blush, she responded: "When I say the wrong things".

Many of the other contestants said they did not blush.

After her win was announced, Miss Federova - who is doing postgraduate work in law - said she was "completely shocked".

Girls from 75 countries spent three weeks practising for the contest and taking part in preliminary rounds that narrowed the field down to just 10 contestants.

The new Miss Universe takes home prizes worth about $250,000 in addition to promotional contracts and a film school scholarship.

The annual show business pageant, launched by a swimwear company 51 years ago, is estimated by organisers to draw a television audience of about 600 million people in 176 countries.

See also:

13 May 00 | South Asia
27 May 99 | Entertainment
15 Oct 99 | N Ireland
29 Jun 99 | Europe
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