Posted by Doug Feinberg | News agency
Two people familiar with the situation said that Nika Ogomec and Elizabeth Williams have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to play basketball for Nigeria in the upcoming Olympics.
The pair were informed earlier this week by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) that their petition to play for the African country had been rejected because they had played for a long time on the US national programme. People spoke to the Associated Press on Friday on condition of anonymity as no official announcement has been made.
WNBA players must overturn the FIBA decision by the Sunday Olympics registration deadline or the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will grant them a temporary allowance and add them to the roster so that a hearing can take place.
The Sports Arbitration Tribunal, based in Switzerland, helps resolve sports-related disputes through arbitration or mediation.
Williams, Ogomic and their younger sister Cheney also sent a letter to FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zachlis, hoping to overturn the decision.
Ogomeke and her two sisters are dual citizens of the United States and Nigeria and believe they should be eligible to represent the country in Japan. The Ogwumikes’ parents, Peter and Evie, were born in Nigeria and came to the United States before their two daughters were born.
Erica Ogwumike is on Nigeria’s provisional list as a Nigerian citizen, but Chiney has been given permission to play for the country as a naturalized player. Since each country is only allowed to have one naturalized player, only one of the two can play with the African country as a naturalized player with the same status and Nneka.
The rules of the International Basketball Federation allow the Secretary-General of the organization to grant a player permission to compete in his country of origin if it contributes to the development of basketball in the country.
No African country has won an Olympic match since Nigeria’s 5-1 victory at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
The NFA has already submitted an appeal to FIBA, but it will likely be decided only after the deadline for the list has passed.
Nika Ogomec and Williams have been approved by the NBA team to play in Nigeria. Players who compete in major US FIBA events after the age of 17 will not normally be allowed to play in any other country.
Nika Ugomki competed with the United States at the 2018 World Cup when the Americans beat Nigeria in the quarter-finals. She had hoped to form the United States national team in Tokyo but was banned from the team upon announcement. She had a knee injury that she caught earlier last month.