CAS denies Nneka Ogwumike’s appeal to play for Nigeria

Nneka Ogwumike

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Monday denied Nneka Ogwumike’s appeal to play for Nigeria in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

It also rejected an appeal by Elizabeth Williams’ appeal to represent Nigeria.

Ogwumike was left off of the US roster for the Tokyo Olympics. She won gold medals for the US senior national team at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in 2014 and 2018.

FIBA had denied granting her request to play for the birth country of her parents, citing her “substantial involvement” with Team USA.

Acknowledging CAS’s decision, FIBA said in a statement, “In any event, the players would have to wait for a three-year period since their last game with the USA to be eligible to play at the Olympics, as per Bye-law to Rule 41 of the Olympic Charter.”

By petitioning to play for Nigeria, Ogwumike was hoping to appear alongside her sisters, Chiney and Erica, on the same Olympic roster. Chiney also encountered problems in her desire to play for Nigeria but was eventually cleared as a naturalized citizen and is now on the roster. All three Ogwumike sisters have dual citizenship in the US and Nigeria.

Speaking on her desire to play for Team Nigeria, Ogwumike said: “I just wanted to bet on myself and also be a part of an organization that prioritizes me. My perspective was like, ‘If it’s not impossible, I’m going to go for it.’ Because I believe I have Olympic status and I plan on being an Olympian.”