Olympics-Basketball-CAS rejects players' request to represent Nigeria

FILE PHOTO: September 29, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike (30) is treated after suffering an injury against the Minnesota Lynx during the second half in Game 3 of the WNBA Finals at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has rejected a request by two women's basketball players to represent Nigeria at the Tokyo Olympics, after they were not selected in the United States team having played for them during qualifying.

Nneka Ogwumike and Elizabeth Williams, who play in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), represented the U.S. team during qualifying for the Tokyo Games in September, 2019 and February, 2020.

They requested an "exceptional change" of their national status, but basketball's world governing body FIBA declined and the pair went to sport's highest court.

"FIBA acknowledges today's decision of CAS to reject the request for provisional measures filed by Ogwumike and Williams," FIBA said in a statement on Tuesday http://www.fiba.basketball/news/fiba-statement-on-cas-decision-regarding-nnemkadi-chinwe-ogwumike-and-elizabeth-olatayo-williams.

It added that the players would have to wait for three years after their last game for the U.S. team to be eligible to play at the Games, as per rules set out in the Olympic Charter.

FIBA said the pair were not included in the list of players submitted by the Nigeria Basketball Federation to the country's Olympic committee for the Games.

Ogwumike, who plays for WNBA side Los Angeles Sparks, has helped the U.S. team win two gold medals in the World Cup while Williams represents Atlanta Dream and has three youth world championships gold medals.

Nigeria are set to meet the U.S. in their first match at the Games on July 27 before playing France and hosts Japan.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

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