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Miss World boss to visit Fiji over contestant fiasco

The head of the Miss World beauty queen franchise says she plans to travel to Fiji “as soon as possible” to address the problems that turned last month's pageant in the island nation into a fiasco.

“Sadly I am aware of many problems that have occurred,” wrote Julia Morley in an email sent to The Associated Press on Friday. Morley, who co-chairs the organization from its London headquarters, said she wants to work with a “specially selected team,” including this year's Miss World Fiji pageant director, to “find solutions” for future Fiji pageants.

The Fiji director, Andhy Blake, has been at the center of criticism after 16-year-old Torika Watters was crowned winner last month. First there were complaints Watters looked too Western to represent her country. Then, two weeks after the pageant, Watters was told she was too young to compete in the international competition in China.

The crown has been handed to the 24-year-old runner-up, Koini Vakaloloma.

This week, one of the six international judges said the judging was a sham because Blake pressured them into picking Watters as the winner.

In a post on the Miss World Fiji website Thursday, Blake acknowledged he had preselected Watters as a semifinalist and gave the judges his personal opinion that she should win, but denied that made the event a sham.

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