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NIAMH HAS THE WORLD AT HER FEET; Beauty vows to do us proud.

Miss World beauty Niamh Redmond last night vowed to do Ireland proud in the big contest.

She told her fans: "I'm going in there fighting and, with luck, will bring the crown home for the first time."

Niamh, 19, is hoping she can lift the coveted sash at tonight's contest in Bangalore, India.

And there's plenty think she can do it. Bookies Paddy Power have her as 5-2 favourite. And Miss Ireland organiser Krish Naidoo said: "She's the hottest girl we've had in years."

She is also the coolest. In two weeks Niamh hasn't once lost her nerve as thousands of feminist pickets have demonstrated. They claim the beauty contest demeans women and insults Indian culture and have threatened to turn themselves into human torches as the event is beamed to a worldwide audience.

But speaking from her hotel room in Bangalore last night, Niamh said: "I feel very safe. There are hundreds of soldiers and police everywhere we go.

"I'm keeping my fingers crossed to win but whatever happens I'll do my best. Let's face it, I won't be able to come home if I don't at least get a place!"

Only one former Miss Ireland has come close to taking the title. Model Siobhan McClafferty was pipped by just one point when she came in runner-up in South Africa six years ago.

But Krish Naidoo is sure of victory this time. "Naimh has all the qualities Miss World judges look for," he said. "We have a winner."

Cameramen from all over the world agree. They've made the economics student from Drimnagh, Dublin, their favourite pin-up.

Niamh's mum and dad, Orla and Ron, flew to India last weekend to root for her as she takes on 87 of the world's most beautiful women.

Her three brothers - Ron, 15, Paul, 12 and Conor, eight - will cheer her on as they watch the contest live on Sky One at 10pm.

BETTING odds are: Miss Ireland, Niamh Redmond, 5-2, Miss India, 3-l, Miss UK, 5-l and Miss America, 7-l.

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Article Details
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Author:Taylor, Richie
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 23, 1996
Words:340
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