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MANILA, Philippines – South Sudan forward Nuni Omot apologized for the elbow hit that caused Serbia player Borisa Simanic to lose one of his kidneys and miss the rest of the FIBA World Cup.
Simanic needed to have his kidney removed after being elbowed by Omot late in the Serbians’ 115-83 beatdown of the South Sudan back in the group stage last August 30.
“I am deeply saddened by the news of Simanic’s injuries,” said Omot in a statement released by the South Sudan Basketball Federation on Tuesday, September 5.
“As a sportsman, I firsthand understand the severity of his situation and I am deeply sorry that this happened. No player should have to go through that. I pray for Simanic’s recovery and speedy return to the court.”
Simanic has not seen action for the Orlovi since, but Serbia has used him as an inspiration as it advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 2014 following a stunning 87-68 win over erstwhile unbeaten Lithuania on Tuesday.
Omot and South Sudan, meanwhile, ended their campaign as the best African nation to gain automatic qualification to the Paris Olympics.
Brushing off their loss to Serbia, the Bright Stars swept their classification phase assignments against the Philippines and Angola to finish 17th out of the 32 participating teams.
The SSBF also decried the racial discrimination Omot has experienced after the incident.
“We condemn any sort of racism directed towards the player. Basketball is a sport that is recognized to bring people together rather than to be used as a tool of prejudice,” said the SSBF.
“Finally, we extend prayers and best wishes to Borisa Simanic.” – Rappler.com