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Inaugural FIRST Global robotics competition kicks off in D.C.

(Photo, ABC7)

Maybe the FIRST Global Challenge does not yet get the attention the Spelling Bee garners every year, but there are some very intelligent kids at the robotics competition in D.C. all this week and some very resilient ones as well.

It is the world cup of robots. More than 150 countries represented in what is also described as robotic Olympics. Teams go head-to-head using science, technology, math and engineering. Best robot wins. But one team, an all-girls team from Afghanistan, had to climb another mountain before their robot did some climbing at the event.

Their travel visas to the U.S. were denied not once but twice. President Trump actually stepped in and the girls were competing Monday even though they received their official building kits for the contest just two weeks ago, much later than other teams.

One of the girls, Fatemah Qaderyan said through a translator that “she has a great feeling that she is here,”and is happy to be representing Afghanistan at the international competition.

The White House reached out to the State Department and Homeland Security. The six girls from Afghanistan were granted temporary parole status, meaning they can be in the country very briefly without a visa. The competition ends Tuesday night.

"Show yourself to the world," said team mentor Alireza Mehraban. "They can do it. They can make it.”

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