Basketball INTERNATIONAL NEWS LOCAL NEWS NEWS SPORTS GIST EX WNBA BEST PLAYER NNEKA OGWUMIKE’S REQUEST TO PLAY FOR NIGERIA IN TOKYO REJECTED By Admin Posted on 2 weeks ago 5 min read 0 0 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Farouq Oduola A. Nneka Ogwumike, the former WNBA MVP, was informed by FIBA that her request to represent Nigeria in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics had been refused owing to her “extensive connection” with Team USA for more than a decade, according to reports. If Ogwumike can submit an application to the Court of Arbitration in Sport, which may accelerate a full hearing if both sides agree, the court FIBA could allow her to play until there is a hearing. On behalf of Ogwumike and Elizabeth Williams, who was also refused, the Nigerian Basketball Federation filed an appeal with FIBA and the Atlanta Dream center. They stated that Ogwumike and Williams were “two of the best players in the world” who would have made their squad “one of the best at the Games.” Players who have participated for the United States in FIBA-sanctioned tournaments after turning 17 are generally not permitted to compete for another nation in a FIBA event. However, under FIBA’s player eligibility rules, the organization’s secretary general has the authority to allow a player to play for the national team of his or her country of origin provided it is in the best interests of the sports in that country. The growth of women’s basketball across the world is one of FIBA’s main pillars of focus. The IOC simply requires that an athlete be naturalized by the country for which they are participating. Three years after competing for their prior nation, they can participate for a different one. Nneka Ogwumike last appeared for the United States in an international tournament three years ago, in the 2018 World Cup. Chiney and Erica Ogwumike, Ogwumike’s two sisters, both wanted to play for Nigeria. Chiney, a former No. 1 overall choice who currently plays for the Los Angeles Sparks with her elder sister, has been authorized to play for Nigeria as a naturalized player, a condition that may have an impact on the rest of the Nigerian squad because only one player may have that status. Erica, on the other hand, was authorized without restrictions. Peter and Ify Ogwumike, the Ogwumikes’ parents, were both born in Nigeria and moved to the United States, where their three daughters were born as dual citizens. FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis stated the rationale in letters to Ogwumike and Williams, citing “the Player’s extensive engagement with the USA national team over more than 10 years.” Nneka, 31, was a longstanding part of the United States senior national team, earning gold medals in the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in 2014 and 2018. However, she was left off the United States’ team for the Tokyo Olympics, which surprised many and caused considerable controversy. She is the only WNBA MVP who has never made an Olympic team, having been omitted from the squads in 2012 and 2016.