(UKPA) – 23 minutes ago
Linford Christie's athlete niece has been celebrating after being crowned the first black Miss England in the competition's history.
Rachel Christie, 20, who is on course to appear at the London 2012 Olympics, chased down the competition to claim the prestigious prize at the event in central London.
Kat Hodge, a 21-year-old soldier decorated for bravery in Iraq, came second in the Grand Final, which was decided after a public vote.
Londoner Ms Christie, who specialises in the heptathlon, was one of the bookies' favourites to win the competition and will now compete for the Miss World crown in South Africa later this year.
She has won medals at major UK race meets such as the AAA and South of England championships, and trains at the stadium in Hammersmith, west London, named after her uncle Linford.
Before winning Ms Christie - who was competing as Miss London City - told event organisers: "My ambition in life is to compete and win gold in the 2012 Olympics.
"I would also love to do well in Miss England, I want to be successful in whatever I choose to do in life."
Lance Corporal Kat Hodge, 22, from Tunbridge Wells, has been in the Army for five years and was awarded a commendation from her unit, the 1st Battalion, Royal Anglian Regiment for her actions during a posting in 2005 in Basra.
She said ahead of Monday night's vote: "By no stretch do I think I am the most beautiful girl in England, but for me this is not what Miss England is about. I think the winner should be beautiful on the inside as well."
The pageant was marred by spectators who gathered outside the entrance of Metropole Hilton Hotel and denounced the competition as sexist.