Miss SA is heartbroken

2002-11-29 08:06

Johannesburg - She is heartbroken and would have given anything to represent South Africa in the Miss World competition says Miss South Africa, Vanessa Carriera.

Carreira opened her heart to Beeld newspaper on Thursday over Sun International's decision to send her first princess, Claire Sabbagha (25), in her place to the Miss World competition.

Sabbagha left for London on Thursday afternoon, after a drama-filled day. Miss World organisers ruled on Thursday afternoon that Miss Junior Africa, Karen Lourens, who was given the green light on Tuesday, may no longer represent South Africa in the competition.

Lourens (19) who is already in London will remain in the British capital until the crowning ceremony on December 7. She is to attend all functions with other contestants and will be given equal status to mollify her.

Miss World organiser Julia Morley gave Sun International a slap on the wrist at a media conference. She said she approached Pageants SA to send Lourens, after being informed that Carreira would no longer compete due to logistical problems.

"South Africa has always been special to me and it had been a disappointment when Sun International withdrew Miss SA. After the announcement that Lourens would compete and she was underway to London, we were informed that Sabbagha would represent South Africa."

Morely said she had to accept these developments under her contract with the hotel group. However, she maintained the treatment Pageants SA and Lourens received was inexcusable.

'Emotionally drained'

Carreira says "her emotions have been in turmoil" over the past few days and she feels emotionally drained. "It'll take time to get over this."

Contractually she is obliged to crown her successor a day after the Miss World competition on December 8. Under her contract her first princess is required to stand in for her if she fails to meet all her responsibilities.

Carreira wished Sabbagha well over the telephone and believes she is set to do South Africa proud.

Sabbagha (25), of Johannesburg, commended Carreira on Thursday night for standing down, allowing her the wonderful opportunity.

Meanwhile Morley raised a few eyebrows on Thursday with an announcement that she intends taking the new Miss World back to Nigeria for fashion shoots.

The pageant had been moved to London following outbreaks of violence in Nigeria. At least 200 people were killed and more than 1 000 wounded.