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South African wins Mr Gay World pageant

world Updated: Feb 14, 2010 20:11 IST

AFP
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A South African man has won the 2010 Mr Gay World pageant, beating rivals from Australia, Hong Kong, China and Spain, the organisers said on Sunday.

Charl Van den Berg, 28, who runs a restaurant in Cape Town, won after four days of competition finished with a walk down a fashion runaway in an Oslo nightclub dressed in skimpy swimwear and various costumes.http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTEditImages/Images/Charl_van_den_berg_172.jpg

The competition is aimed at "finding a leader who can take on the responsibility of being a spokesman for the community and who can also speak out on equality and human rights on the world stage," a statement said.

Xiaodai Muyi, 26, from China and who took fourth place, competed despite Beijing's attempts to prevent him doing so.

The Chinese authorities blocked China's own first gay pageant, in which contestants were vying for the right to represent China at Mr Gay World, last month.

Xiaodai's identity had been kept secret in the run-up to the competition in which some 20 men from around the world vied for the Mr Gay World title.

Homosexuality was a crime in China until 1997 and it was officially considered a mental illness until 2001. Since then, however, an increasing number of visible gay and lesbian events has taken place.