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Korean StarCraft pro among first foreign eSports competitors to obtain athletic visa

Timothy J. Seppala, @timseppala
December 12, 2013
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Thanks to support from the competitive gaming community, one of Korea's most impressive eSports athletes has found a home in the US. Kim "Violet" Dong Hwan has ben trying to take his competitive StarCraft 2 career stateside for awhile, but a string of visa denials made his tournament schedule pretty sparse. With his country's mandatory military service looming over his head, Hwan was facing early retirement if he wasn't granted US-entry. Luckily that didn't happen. Hwan's manager rallied Blizzard Entertainment (StarCraft 2's publisher), Twitch.tv and Machinima execs, and over the course of seven months, they penned a 500-page application to immigration services. According to The Daily Dot, this tome included every article ever written about Hwan, translated into English.

The result? A P-1A pro-athlete visa that will allow Hwan to compete in the country for the next five years. This is only the second time an eSports competitor has gotten an athletic visa, and now, the government may view them on the same level as, say, baseball players. For the full story (including a harrowing tale of how Hwan's house caught fire just after he sat down for a tournament) we urge you to check out the source.

[Image credit: Team Liquid]

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