FIBA reportedly denied Nneka Ogwumike's petition to play for Nigeria in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics because of her "substantial involvement" with Team USA for more than a decade, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Mechelle Voepel.
Elizabeth Williams' application was also denied, but Chiney Ogwumike's was approved as a naturalized player—only one is allowed per roster—according to ESPN. Meanwhile, the third sister, Erica Ogwumike, is fully cleared.
The Nigerian Basketball Federation filed an appeal to FIBA on behalf of Nneka and Williams. It wrote that the pair were "two of the top players that would have made our team one of the strongest at the Games."
The letter obtained by ESPN said, "We do tacitly believe there are undercurrents and motivation for such a decision which is repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience. It is also out rightly discriminatory because players of African descent are approved to play for other countries constantly but the reverse is not the case."
USA Basketball gave each player consent to play, and the athletes paid the $10,000 administrative fee to do so. Additionally, they hold Nigerian passports.
Nneka is reportedly exploring all options so that she can compete for Nigeria, including potentially sending an application to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Through this option, there's the possibility FIBA would allow her to compete until there is a hearing and the court could expedite a full hearing if both sides agree.
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