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Venezuelans celebrate fifth Miss Universe win

world Updated: Jul 14, 2008 15:09 IST

AP
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Venezuelans are celebrating their fifth victory in the Miss Universe pageant.

Some Venezuelans shouted and cheered in Caracas on Sunday night while watching on television as 22-year-old Dayana Mendoza was crowned in Vietnam.

Longtime Miss Venezuela pageant president Osmel Sousa said he's proud Venezuela has won its fifth Miss Universe title.

"She was very sure of herself. She isn't afraid of the public. She was on the stage like it was nothing," Sousa told the Venezuelan television channel Venevision from Vietnam. "She was a little nervous, but not as much as the others. She knew how to win over the public her with her sympathy and her simplicity. On top of that, she looked beautiful on stage," he said.

Mendoza, who beat out runner-up Miss Colombia, was once kidnapped in her homeland and says the experience taught her to remain poised under pressure.

Beauty is a national obsession in Venezuela, and its contestants are regularly among the finalists in Miss Universe. Venezuela last won Miss Universe in 1996, when Alicia Machado took the crown.