Birmingham Commonwealth Games: Basketballer Nikau McCullough scratched from 3X3 debut with COVID-19

Basketballer Nikau McCullough has been forced to withdraw from the NZ Commonwealth Games team at Birmingham, after returning a positive COVID-19 test before leaving for England.

McCullough, 25, starred for New Zealand at the recent world and Asian 3X3 championships, helping his team to 10th and second placings respectively in their build-up towards the format's Games debut this month.

But the Otago Nuggets guard failed a pre-departure COVID test and has been ruled out of the tournament, replaced by Taranaki Mountainairs guard Richie Rodger.

Along with Birmingham teammate Ty Wynyard, McCullough was a member of the NZ team that captured the 2015 FIBA U18 3X3 crown.

The New Zealand team already has another athlete in isolation at Birmingham, after testing positive for COVID on arrival.

"The CT score was deemed not high enough to release them into general population," said NZ chef de mission Nigel Avery. "They're being very well supported by the NZ medical team - they're doing a great job.

"I've spoken to this athlete twice now and had a few jokes. I think he's run through the whole catalogue of Netflix.

"We've just got to work through the process and follow it step by step."

All members of the NZ team were tested 14 days before departure, then again 72 hours before arriving at Birmingham, before undergoing a final test as part of the 'welcome' process.

Join us for live updates of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, starting Friday