Indian community in Eilat 'thrilled' at Harnaaz Sandhu being crowned Miss Universe 2021

PTI | Eilat | Updated: 13-12-2021 18:00 IST | Created: 13-12-2021 17:10 IST
Indian community in Eilat 'thrilled' at Harnaaz Sandhu being crowned Miss Universe 2021
Harnaaz Sandhu Image Credit: ANI
  • Country:
  • Israel

The Indian community in the southern Israeli coastal city of Eilat is ''overwhelmed'' after actor-model Harnaaz Sandhu was named Miss Universe 2021.

Sandhu, a 21-year-old Chandigarh-based model, was crowned at the 70th edition of the event held in the city last night.

''We were there at the venue. I had a good feeling right from the start. The community talked about the event felt India had a chance, and went with flags to cheer our contestant,'' Samson Burgarkar told PTI.

''She won our hearts when she acknowledged our presence by greeting us with folded hands saying Namaste. We cheered for her every time. Our Israeli friends have been congratulating the Indian community members all the time since the morning and it is a proud moment for us,'' Bugarkar added.

About 50 Indians, Jews of Indian origin, and some workers from India were present at the event waving the Indian flag and greeting Sandhu with loud cheers every time she made an appearance on the stage.

Jacky Divekar, an Indian who immigrated to Israel several decades ago, said while he did not attend the event due to other obligations, he was ''overwhelmed by the number of congratulatory messages from friends and acquaintances in the morning'' when he checked his phone.

''I felt good waking up to this in the morning. I am a proud Indian and am happy to see an Indian winning this coveted prize,'' Divekar added.

There are about 150-200 Indian families and a few dozen workers from India living in the coastal city which attracts more tourists annually than the number of its residents. Miss India Harnaaz Sandhu has crowned Miss Universe for the year 2021 at a glitzy ceremony at the Red Sea port of Eilat in the early hours of Monday morning, marking the 70th anniversary of the beauty competition.

Her win marks the first Miss Universe title for India in 21 years. Actor Lara Dutta won the pageant in 2000.

''So proud to see an Indian winning the Miss Universe award, and also the celebratory mood in the Indian community in Eilat. Indians in the city are being congratulated everywhere,'' Sanjay Gupta, a Kolkata-born resident of the Eilat, who has represented the Israeli national team in the European Cricket Championship in the past, said.

Priti Gupta, who works as an assistant manager at a hotel here, said Sandhu's win will inspire women to follow their dreams.

''Over the years women have transcended all the barriers and won laurels in every field irrespective of caste, creed, or religion. As an Indian, I feel the Miss Universe crown is a big achievement - it is a benchmark for all the coming generations, for girls in every nook and corner of India to leave no stone unturned to achieve their dream,'' she said.

Sandhu advanced to the finals competing with her 79 co-contestants from across the globe. She edged out Miss Paraguay Nadia Ferreira and Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane to take over the crown from the reigning Miss Universe Andrea Meza from Mexico in the final round.

''We were quietly confident but no less nervous than the participant herself just before the announcement of the winner. We held our breath in anticipation and prayed, and then jumped in jubilation with our Indian flag. Sandhu acknowledged our presence each time we cheered for her,'' said Avner Digorkar, another member of the Indian community in Eilat.

The Indian community in the city has a significant presence and has been in the news for commemorating the victims of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai every year.

The Eilat municipality has also agreed to build an India-Israel friendship square in the city to strengthen the ties between the two countries and show respect to the Indian community members.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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