REIGNING Miss Carnival Dananai Chipunza raised the nation’s flag high earning a top-10 finish at the 17th Miss Tourism International 2013-2014 World finals held on New Year’s Eve at Putrajaya, Malaysia.
Chipunza, who arrived back in the country on Monday afternoon, was on 10th position ahead of 59 other queens drawn from across the world who were also vying for the coveted title.
Besides being among the top-10, facing stiff competition, Chipunza emerged first ahead of other African countries like Uganda, South Africa and Swaziland that were also represented at the pageant.
“Finishing on position 10 at a pageant of such a magnitude was a great achievement for me and my country. It has been a huge learning platform for me where I got connected to different cultures,” she said.
Despite being unable to bring the crown home, Chipunza expressed satisfaction on her efforts and experience in Malaysia, adding that the top-10 finish was her biggest achievement since she started modelling.
She was also named the brand ambassador of Asia Metropolitan University for Africa and she becomes the second African to be in the top 10 in the history of the pageant.
“As this was a tourism pageant, I prepared myself by making sure that I knew all about Zimbabwe’s tourist attractions to be able to sell the country not only as a destination, but to show that we are one of the best and safest destinations in Southern Africa,” said Chipunza.
She said she could have done better under the talent show if she had opted for the cooking challenges, but she, however, opted for public speaking.
Chipunza added that she was excited to also become the third runner-up for the talent award after reciting a presentation on black African activists which was inspired by Nelson Mandela.
“I would like to thank everyone who supported me and made the trip successful because I believe I represented Zimbabwe very well and put our country on the map,” Chipunza said.
Meanwhile, the acting chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, Givemore Chidzidzi congratulated and thanked Dananai for putting the country on the world map.
“We have started the year on a good note especially with Dananai flying our flag high during the pageant in Malaysia which is certainly a great achievement for the country. It is not everyone who makes it that far, but Dananai has managed to do so at such a prestigious pageant which must be appreciated,” Chidzidzi said.
He said Dananai had set the standards high for other local models and that deserved to be emulated by the coming 2014 winners.
Angeli Dione Gomez from the Phillipines was crowned 2013 Miss Tourism International while the first runner-up honours went to Miss Thailand Sunidporn Srisuwan. Miss Australia, Sarah Czarnuch was second runner-up; Miss Dominican Republic Michelle Alexis Torres, third runner-up; and Miss Malaysia Thaarah Ganesan, fourth runner-up.
The prestigious Miss Tourism International World has seen the participation of more than 500 Miss Tourism delegates from around the world since its inauguration in 1994.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO (OWN CORRESPONDENT-Newsday)