Olympic qual­i­fiers: Ba­lo­gun set for D’ti­gress de­but

The Punch - - SPORTS -

El­iz­a­beth Ba­lo­gun will de­but for D’ti­gress in their 2020 Women’s Olympic Qual­i­fy­ing Tour­na­ment in Bel­grade, Ser­bia, fol­low­ing her re­lease by Louisville.

Babs Ogu­nade, the Nige­ria Bas­ket­ball Fed­er­a­tion vice pres­i­dent, who con­firmed this, said the guard has been cleared to par­tic­i­pate in the Women’s Olympic Qual­i­fy­ing Tour­na­ment billed for Ser­bia from Fe­bru­ary 6 to 9.

Prior to her re­lease, Ogu­nade said the fed­er­a­tion made sev­eral ef­forts in the past to se­cure her re­lease, in­clud­ing con­tact­ing her fa­ther, Mark Ba­lo­gun, for his in­ter­ven­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to him, D’ti­gress head coach, Otis Hugh­ley jr., had to speak to her coach, jeff Walz, in Louisville be­fore she was re­leased for the qual­i­fy­ing tour­na­ment.

Vir­tus Eirene of Italy small for­ward, Ifu­nanya Ibekwe, Prom­ise Amuka­mara (Char­nay Bas­ket Bour­gogne SUD, Frace), Sarah Imovbioh (Bas­ket Na­mur Cap­i­tale,

Bel­gium) and Spain-based Elo Ede­fe­rioka, who plies her trade with CB Vigo, have also earned re­calls.

Pal­las Ku­naiyi Ak­pan­nah may be on course to con­tinue build­ing her fledg­ling na­tional team ca­reer af­ter de­but­ing for Nige­ria at the pre­qual­i­fiers in Ma­puto, Mozam­bique in Novem­ber while reg­u­lars Ezinne Kalu, Eve­lyn Akha­tor, Aisha Balarabe, Sarah Ogoke and team cap­tain, Adaora Elonu, are all in­cluded in the 14-man list.

Nige­ria is grouped along­side hosts Ser­bia, world cham­pi­ons USA and Mozam­bique with three Olympics tick­ets on of­fer.

• Ba­lo­gun

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