17 August 2008

Miss World final moved from Ukraine over Georgia conflict

A map of Ukraine where Miss World 2008 was supposed to take place.


This year's Miss World finals in Kiev might has been cancelled amid fears that Russia may turn its military might on the Ukraine

The 120 contestants were due to compete at the Ukraina National Palace on October 4.

But the event has been called off and a new host country is being sought, the Daily Telegraph has learned.

In a statement, the organisers said: "Due to circumstances beyond our control, it was with deep regret that the decision was taken to postpone the Miss World 2008 Final. This decision was taken in the interest of contestants and the Miss World Organisation."

A new venue and date will be announced next week, the statement added. Nha Trang in Vietnam is being considered as a last-minute alternative.

A spokesman refused to discuss the reasons for the cancellation, but staff working on the show were told that the situation in Russia was behind the decision. There are fears in the Ukraine that Russia will shift its attention to the Ukraine, another US ally in the former Soviet Union.

Julia Morley, president of the Miss World Organisation, was unavailable for comment. She is attending the Beijing Olympics with Zhang Zilin, current holder of the crown and a former Miss China.

This is not the first time the organisers have been forced to abandon a venue.

In 2002, plans to hold the beauty pageant in Nigeria led to riots which left 200 people dead. The violence was sparked when a local journalist wrote an article claiming the Islamic prophet Mohammad would have approved of the contest and even married one of the contestants. The ensuing clashes between Muslims and Christians rocked the country and forced the contestants to flee the country. Several competitors also boycotted the contest in protest at Nigeria's decision to condemn a woman to death by stoning for committing adultery. The venue was switched to London at the last minute.

Written by Anita Singh for telegraph.co.uk