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No visa for Afghanistan's taekwondo star

 Iran's Hossein Tajik, right, lands a kick on his way to a 5-1 win over Holland's Ferry Greevink during the British Open Taekwondo Championships, at t...
 Taipei's Jo-Wei Lin, right, aims a kick at Lebanon's Andrea Paoli during the British Open Taekwondo Championships, at the Manchester Regional Arena, ...
 Iran's Hasanein Khafaji has his scoring body armour checked during his 14-2 loss to Britain's Beytullah Kem during the British Open Taekwondo Champio...
 Iran's Parisa Farshidi, right, aims a kick on her way to a 14-2 loss to Spain's Eva Calvo during the British Open Taekwondo Championships, at the Man...
 Iran's Parisa Farshidi puts on her headguard before her fight against Spain's Eva Calvo during the British Open Taekwondo Championships, at the Manch...
 Lebanon's Andrea Paoli, right, reels away from a kick on her way to an 11-10 win over Taipei's Jo-Wei Lin during the British Open Taekwondo Champions...
 Iran's Parisa Farshidi, right, tests a kick before her fight against Spain's Eva Calvo during the British Open Taekwondo Championships, at the Manche...
 Iran's Hossein Tajik, right, lands a kick on his way to a 5-1 win over Holland's Ferry Greevink during the British Open Taekwondo Championships, at t...
 Britain's Beytullah Kem has his scoring body armour checked during his 14-2 win over Iran's Hasanein Khafaji during the British Open Taekwondo Champi...

Britain British Open Taekwondo

Iran's Hossein Tajik, right, lands a kick on his way to a 5-1 win over Holland's Ferry Greevink during the British Open Taekwondo Championships, at t...

Britain British Open Taekwondo

Taipei's Jo-Wei Lin, right, aims a kick at Lebanon's Andrea Paoli during the British Open Taekwondo Championships, at the Manchester Regional Arena, ...

Britain British Open Taekwondo

Iran's Hasanein Khafaji has his scoring body armour checked during his 14-2 loss to Britain's Beytullah Kem during the British Open Taekwondo Champio...

Britain British Open Taekwondo

Iran's Parisa Farshidi, right, aims a kick on her way to a 14-2 loss to Spain's Eva Calvo during the British Open Taekwondo Championships, at the Man...

Britain British Open Taekwondo

Iran's Parisa Farshidi puts on her headguard before her fight against Spain's Eva Calvo during the British Open Taekwondo Championships, at the Manch...

Britain British Open Taekwondo

Lebanon's Andrea Paoli, right, reels away from a kick on her way to an 11-10 win over Taipei's Jo-Wei Lin during the British Open Taekwondo Champions...

Britain British Open Taekwondo

Iran's Parisa Farshidi, right, tests a kick before her fight against Spain's Eva Calvo during the British Open Taekwondo Championships, at the Manche...

Britain British Open Taekwondo

Iran's Hossein Tajik, right, lands a kick on his way to a 5-1 win over Holland's Ferry Greevink during the British Open Taekwondo Championships, at t...

Britain British Open Taekwondo

Britain's Beytullah Kem has his scoring body armour checked during his 14-2 win over Iran's Hasanein Khafaji during the British Open Taekwondo Champi...

Taekwondo stars usually have no problem kicking their way out of a problem _ except when it comes to getting a visa.
Afghanistan's fighter Rohullah Nikpai, who won his country's first Olympic medal at the 2008 Beijing Games, failed to get permission to visit Manchester for the ongoing British Open.
Tournament organizers said Nikpai and his Afghani team didn't get visas in time to compete despite lobbying the U.K. Border Agency on their behalf. But officials said the application wasn't made until last week, making a quick approval difficult.
After winning bronze medals at the Beijing Games and this year's world taekwondo championships, Nikpai had been in contention for gold at the British Open.
"It's a big shame," said Ian Leafe, who heads the team that organized the British Open. "We offered as much assistance as we could, but there's a limited amount you can do as a sports federation."
He said there are no British consular services in Afghanistan, so Nikpai and his team had to travel to Pakistan to apply for a visa.
"It's a loss," said Ruebyn Richards, a fighter on Britain's national team. "At the end of the day, you don't want an easy route to the final. You want to have earned it."
Nikpai's absence at the tournament may raise questions about potential visa problems for other athletes ahead of the London 2012 Olympics.
Visas for the Iranian taekwondo team _ which includes several world champions _ came through only hours before the fighters were due to fly to Manchester.