New Delhi: Miss India Parvathy Omanakuttan did the country proud on Saturday, winning the first runner up title in the Miss World 2008 pageant.
This is India's first title in eight years. Parvathy is the first contestant to make it as runner up since Priyanka Chopra was crowned Miss world in 2000.
Twenty-one-year-old Parvathy stands tall at 5 feet 9 inches and hails from Kerala. India had high hopes on her to win the crown that last came to the country in 2000.
WINNING THE WORLD OVER: Twenty-one-year-old Parvathy stands tall at 5 feet 9 inches and hails from Kerala.
Five Indian women have won the title of Miss World in the pageant's 58 year history. But Parvathy narrowly missed out on winning the crown. Miss Russia won the title at the ceremony held in Johannesburg.
Meanwhile, Parvathy's family back home is celebrating her victory
"We'll do everything that we had planned for her victory and she has been victorious. And she has acheived whatever she had planned," said her brother.
"Right now I'm on top of the world. Had she won the crown the scenario would have been different. But that is okay. We are going to celebrate ,we are celebrating. India is proud and we are proud of her," said her cousin Murli.
Parvathy's crucial answer
Parvathy impressed the jury with her looks and quick wit and was one the five finalists out of the 109 contestants at the Sandton Convention Center.
Exuding charm in her white gown, Parvathy cat-walked confidently on the stage to answer her question in the final round. She was asked what being in South Africa meant for her. To this she compared the "similarity in the cultures" of India and South Africa and thanked the locals for their hospitality. She also compared legends Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi and how inextricably linked the two countries' fates have been.
Earlier, a collective cheer went up in the audience when Paravathy’s name was announced at the end of a 15-name long list of semi finalists.
Other semi-finalists included Ms Trinidad and Tobago, Ms US, Ms Guatemala, Ms Venezuela, Ms Ukraine, Ms Croatia, Ms Brazil, Ms Angola, Ms Kazakhstan, Ms Puerto Rico, Ms Spain, Ms Russia and Ms South Africa.