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Gambian Teens Granted Visas for US Robotics Competition

After an earlier denial, five high school students from Gambia have been granted visas to travel to the United States to participate in an international robotics competition.

The teens, from the tiny West African nation, were initially denied visas to attend the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Global robotics challenge in Washington DC later this month.

However, after a second interview on Thursday, officials at the US embassy approved their request.

The global competition brings together students from 160 countries in an effort to promote interest in science and engineering among high schoolers.

The Gambian team will travel to the U.S. without mentor Mucktarr Darboe whose visa was denied.

Last week, a team of six Afghan girls were denied visas for the robotics competition following two rounds of interviews. The U.S. State Department has not disclosed why. The Afghan team members say while they are disappointed, they will send their entry – a ball sorting robot – to the competition.

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