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Racial criticism, age questions fuel Miss World Fiji fiasco; judge claims contest was rigged
SUVA, Fiji (AP) ' A beauty pageant in Fiji has turned into a fiasco involving race, age and even a claim that the contest was rigged.
Torika Watters was named winner of the Miss World Fiji pageant last month and was expected to represent the island nation in August at the international competition in China. But the mixed-race 16-year-old was quickly hit with online criticism that she looked too Western to represent Fiji.
Watters says a pageant official later told her she was too young to compete, though she claims the same official previously said her age was not a problem. That official did not answer his phone Wednesday.
Watters stepped down and another winner has been announced.
One of the six judges says the panel had been pressured to pick Watters from the start.