Happy ending

Afghan girls robotics team finishes 1st round at U.S. tech competition

Members of the Afghan all-girls robotics team carry their robot onto the competition floor on July 17, 2017, during 2017 FIRST Global Challenge competitions at DAR Constitution Hall, in Washington, DC. A team of Afghan girls prevailed in their first encounter at an international robotics competition in Washington Monday, but the result was perhaps less significant than the fact they made it at all. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

After being denied entry to the United States on two separate occasions, a group of Afghan teenagers was recently able to compete in the first round of a robotics competition in Washington, D.C.

The team had applied for temporary visas to the United States, but had been rejected twice for reasons unknown. The story of their plight attracted international media attention — to the point that President Donald Trump intervened on their behalf, urging U.S. officials to reverse their decision about allowing the girls’ to enter the U.S.

According to The Associated Press, the group joined more than 150 teenagers from across the world on Monday morning at the FIRST Global Challenge, a robotics competition for young adults. Each team was tasked with building a robot that can distinguish between blue and orange balls.

“To score points, teams deposit the blue balls, which represent water, and the orange balls, which represent contaminants, into different locations,” the AP explains. “The teams play in alliances of three nations, with two alliances competing head to head in 2 ½ minute games. The three-robot alliance that scores the most points in a game wins.”

The Afghan team reportedly scored one or two points during the first game, and later scored extra points by getting their robot to hang from a bar. They are scheduled to play three more matches on Tuesday.

The team is, however, at somewhat of a disadvantage. While other groups had up to four months to work on their creations, the Afghan teenagers had to build their robot within two weeks so it could be shipped to the competition on time.

Rodaba Noori, one of the team members, told the AP that the group is nevertheless excited to be participating in the event. “We were so interested, because we find a big chance to show the talent and ability of Afghans, show that Afghan women can make robots, too,” she said.

Watch more about the team’s adventure here.

Read the full story at The Associated Press.

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