"I am glad I did this for my country. May God bless this nation," she Abenakyo upon her return home.
PIC: It was a warm homecoming for beauty queen Quiin Abenakyo on Wednesday. (Photo by Ashraf Kasirye)
QUIIN ABENAKYO'S HOMECOMING
By Joseph Kizza
ENTEBBE - Newly-crowned Miss World Africa Quiin Abenakyo returned home Wednesday early afternoon to a warm reception starting at Entebbe International Airport.
Abenakyo, who flew in onboard an Emirates flight alongside her chaperone Brenda Nanyonjo, was received in an aura of honour befitting a continental beauty queen.
"I am glad I did this for my country," she said at a brief welcome conference soon after checking out.
Her parents were there too.
Tourism state minister Godfrey Kiwanda, a large delegation of Uganda Tourism Board led by former lands minister Daudi Migereko, former Miss Uganda winners and representatives from the Busoga kingdom were part of the welcoming team.
Abenakyo, crowned Miss Uganda 2018/19 in August, rose to the dizzying echelons of global fame when she won the continental crown in the Miss World 2018 contest - cementing her place in the Top 5.
She was also the second runner-up in the Miss World Globe Vote after earlier in the competition winning her head-to-head challenge to make the Top 30 list.
No other Ugandan had achieved that.
Therefore, it was - understandably so - an emotional homecoming for the 22-year-old, whose remarkable feat united a nation not used to having a representative reach thus far in the international beauty pageant.
Mexico's Vanessa Ponce de Leon won the 2018 edition while Thailand's Nicolene Limsnukan came in second. Abenakyo finished fourth.
Upon her return home, she was overwhelmed by emotions of joy.
"I am very humbled - I don't have the right words to express this," the Miss World Africa, wearing a blue dress and definitely her tiara, told the press at Entebbe.
"Thank you for the love and support. The love is so overwhelming and I am forever grateful."
'At a loss of words'
By her side sat Nanyojo, the chief executive officer of Miss Uganda Foundation, who was equally gripped by emotion.
She was by Abenakyo's side every step of the way to her coveted crown.
Nanyonjo was famously pictured inside Sanya City Arena in China - the venue of the December 8 Miss World 2018 crowning ceremony - leaping in joy and tears welling her eyes the moment Abenakyo was announced winner of the African crown after beating Mauritius' Murielle Ravina.
"Both I and Quiin are at a loss of words," she said after they jetted in.
"Thank you for receiving us in such honour and for supporting us."
During their flight back home, the two were "anxious and excited" as Ugandans looked forward to welcoming the group.
Abenakyo and Nanyonjo shared a toast on their flight back home
Kiwanda represented President Yoweri Museveni and said Abenakyo is a source of "real joy" for Ugandans and "we are here to receive you with joy and happiness".
"I remember at every moment, she would say 'I am doing this for my country Uganda'. We wish you all the best in your new-found levels of importance," he said.
"We are here to receive you on behalf of Uganda."
Kiwanda also lauded the Ugandan press for extensively covering their beauty queen.
"Thank you media. You have given our daughter huge publicity."
And to Abenakyo's parents: "Thank you dear parents for taking care of Quiin. We are grateful as a country. We know it has not been easy."
The minister pledged government's "total commitment" to supporting her so as to "maximise the benefit out of this".
"Welcome home. This is your home."
Former Miss Uganda Sylvia Namutebi (2011) and Leah Kagasa (2016) - Abenakyo's predecessor - both spoke in glowing terms of one of their own.
Museveni hosts Quiin
Meanwhile, from the airport, Abenakyo and co would head to State House to be hosted by President Museveni.
On Thursday, there will be an official media conference at Sheraton Hotel at 10am local time. That will be followed by a welcome party at the hotel.
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