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So, Miss Uzbekistan, how DID you qualify for Miss World . . . from a Muslim country that holds no such contest?

  • Rakhima Ganieva, 18, from Tashkent, claims to be Miss Uzbekistan 2013
  • Authorities deny ever holding any such beauty competition
  • Uzbek media have been unable to find out who she is
  • University says it has no record of Miss Ganieva ever studying there

Published: 12:59 BST, 13 September 2013 | Updated: 01:02 BST, 14 September 2013

As beauty queens go, Miss Uzbekistan ticks all the boxes.

She’s pretty, sporty, loves to travel, has musical talent and has brains to boot (she says she likes to read Chekhov, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy).

And after she’s competed at the Miss World final in Indonesia later this month, 18-year-old Rakhima Ganieva wants to graduate from university and become a lawyer.

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Mysterious girl: Rakhima Ganieva claims to be ‘Miss Uzbekistan’ — despite no such competition ever being held

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Centre of attention: Miss Uzbekistan struts along the runway at the opening ceremony of Miss World 2013 held in Bali Indonesia

But there is a glaring omission from her perfect CV – Uzbekistan has no idea who she is. The predominantly Muslim country doesn’t even hold a Miss Uzbekistan contest.

Officials at the Uzbek Culture and Sports Ministry and the National Committee on Women said yesterday that anyone laying claim to the nation’s beauty crown was an imposter.

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Intrigue: Local media have been trying to establish who exactly Rakhima Ganieva, 18, is

Quite how Miss Ganieva made it to Indonesia has baffled the beauty world, while representatives from the London-based Miss World competition were unavailable for comment yesterday. The Uzbek beauty, who says she is from ‘sunny’ Tashkent, the capital of the central Asian nation, is on the official Miss World website saying: ‘I really want to win.’

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Her recent Facebook posts show her posing alongside Miss Georgia, Miss Russia and Miss Ukraine as they prepare for the final on September 28.

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Strike a pose: Miss Uzbekistan Rakhima Ganieva, left, poses next to Miss Albania

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Behind the scenes: Miss Uzbekistan Rakhima Ganieva, left, posted this picture on Facebook of herself with Miss Russia

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Surprise: Gulnara Karimova, pictured next to singer Sting while attending a fashion show in Tashkent, tweeted her surprise about the appearance of a Miss Uzbekistan at Miss World

But back home, the mysterious Miss Ganieva is upsetting her compatriots.

‘Rakhima Ganieva never passed through any special selection process in Uzbekistan,’ said Zhavlon Komolov, a representative of the Tashkent-based Pro Models modelling agency, where Miss Ganieva briefly trained as a 15-year-old.

‘If there had been a process to choose a young lady for this competition, I can assure you that a much more beautiful model would have been chosen. I’m sorry that Ganieva is choosing to build a career on lies.

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