FIBA Stops Nneka Ogwumike From Representing Nigeria

Nneka Ogwumike’s petition to represent Nigeria at the 2020 Olympics was yesterday rejected by basketball governing body FIBA due to “substantial involvement” of more than 10 years with Team USA.

Ogwumike, a 2016 WNBA Most Valuable Player, who played competitively for Team USA from 2009 to 2018, is seeking to explore all available options, including a possible application to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The Nigerian Basketball Federation filed an appeal to FIBA on behalf of Ogwumike and Elizabeth Williams, the Atlanta Dream center who was also denied because of previous involvement with Team USA.
The federation wrote that Ogwumike and Williams were “two of the top players that would have made their team one of the strongest at the Games.

Generally, if players have competed for the United States in a FIBA-sanctioned event after having reached their 17th birthday, they are not allowed to play for another country in a FIBA event. However, according to FIBA’s regulations on player eligibility, the organisation’s secretary general may authorise a player to compete for the national team of his or her country of origin if this is in the interest of the growth of basketball in that country.

One of FIBA’s pillars of emphasis currently is the growth of women’s basketball worldwide.

The IOC rules only require an athlete to be nationalised by the country they’re competing for. They can compete for a different country three years after they competed for their previous country.

Ogwumike however last competed internationally for the United States three years ago in the 2018 World Cup.

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