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Saturday, 7 December, 2002, 19:21 GMT
Miss Turkey wins Miss World
Miss Turkey wins Miss World
Miss Turkey is crowned by last year's winner Miss Nigeria
The Miss World contest, which was relocated from Nigeria after religious violence, has been won by Miss Turkey, Azra Akin.

Miss Colombia was the runner-up while Miss Peru took third place.

The organisers have defended the decision to continue with the event despite riots in Nigeria which left about 220 people dead.

Six entrants boycotted the competition and the assets of Miss World Holdings have been frozen by the High Court.

But with just 10 days to prepare, the organisers insisted the show go ahead at Alexandra Palace in north London.

Around 800 tickets were sold for the pageant, which is being broadcast to 142 countries, but not the UK.

'Not responsible'

It was meant to have been held in Nigeria until an article in a local newspaper sparked religious outrage.

A journalist writing in the Lagos-based This Day newspaper said that the Prophet Mohammed might have approved of the contest - and even chosen to marry one of the contestants.

In the wake of the violence the 90 contestants were flown to London as organisers hunted for an alternative venue.

Nigeria
People in Nigeria were forced to flee the rioting
London's Mayor Ken Livingstone condemned the decision to hold the displaced contest in London after it had brought "tragedy and strife" to Africa.

But organiser Julia Morley said the contest could not be held responsible for the riots.

The controversy started even before the riots when a group of contestants, led by Miss Denmark, announced they were boycotting the competition over Nigeria's decision to condemn a woman to death by stoning for committing adultery.

And this week there was a fresh crisis when a High Court judge made an order to freeze the assets of Ms Morley's company, Miss World Holdings.

I think there is still room for a family show and for students across the world to have a good laugh

Julia Morely
Organiser

The order was granted to Nigerian art dealer and promoter Angela Onyeador, who claims she is owed nearly 500,000 after agreeing to act as guarantor for the Miss World gala dinner at the Grosvenor House hotel in Park Lane, London, last month.

The case is due to return to court next week.

Despite the crises, Ms Morley has ignored calls to scrap the contest and vowed to take the contest to China next year.

British girls

"I think there is still room for a family show and for students across the world to have a good laugh," she said.

The event was hosted by Sean Kanan, an actor from US soap The Bold And The Beautiful.

Organisers claim more than a billion people will watch it - but potential British viewers will miss out as none of the country's television channels has agreed to broadcast it.

Amid a heavy police presence but no protesters, the pageant began with the introduction of all 88 contestants dressed in evening gowns.

Five representatives from the UK and Ireland took part but not one made it through to the last 20 contestants in the semi-finals.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Nick Higham
"This year's Miss World was the most controversial ever"

Talking PointTALKING POINT
Miss World
Should the show have gone ahead?

Miss World row

Analysis

Features

BACKGROUND
See also:

07 Dec 02 | England
29 Nov 02 | Africa
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