News24

Miss World contest rigged?

2003-12-08 09:40

London - The crowning of Rosanna Davison, daughter of singer Chris de Burgh, as Miss World has opened up a can of worms.

Rosanna, who was crowned in China, reportedly had some help from the judges because of her family ties.

Her father is best known for his song Lady in Red.

It has also transpired that Rosanna's crowning as Miss Ireland, which enabled her to take part in the Miss World competition, was not without controversy.

Friends of De Burgh were the judges and De Burgh also knows the man who has been organising the Miss Ireland competition for the past 17 years.

Louis Walsh, one of the Miss Ireland judges, reportedly told journalists three hours before the crowning that Rosanna would be the winner.

However, organisers of the Miss World competition say that the reports can be attributed to "sour grapes" and that Rosanna deserved to win, because she'd been a favourite from the start.

The Mail on Sunday reported that it was a good thing for the organisers that Miss Ireland was crowned, because she's the daughter of a rich singer and with his status, she will get a lot of publicity, which will help to improve the profile of the Miss World competition.

Krish Naidoo, one of the Miss Ireland judges, was also a judge in the final rounds of the Miss World competition.

Another judge, Bruce Forsyth, is a friend of De Burgh. Forsyth and his wife Wilnelia, a former Miss World, are friends of Julia Morley, veteran owner of the competition.

Morley was reportedly one of the judges in the final qualifying rounds giving Rosanna the nod.

Bookies say at the start of the competition the odds on a win for Rosanna stood at 50 to 1. Shortly before the final round thousands of pounds were wagered on her in Ireland, which changed the odds to 4 to 1.

Apparently it's the first time that so much money was wagered on one competitor.

Rosanna's father and mother, Diane, rushed to her side shortly after the crowning. De Burgh, whose surname was Davison originally, took his wife's surname. Following his daughter's crowning, he said: "I'm ecstatic and seriously proud of her."

Jacqui Steeneveldt reports that Miss World 2003 may have brought luck to the Irish, but in South Africa people were astounded that Miss South Africa, Cindy Nell, couldn't even reach the final 20.

Nell and about 80 other competitors fell out in the first round. This was seen as one of the disappointments of the competition, because the website globalbeauties.com earlier predicted that Nell could get fourth place.

The bookies also predicted that she would be one of the ten finalists.