Cambage blasts Tokyo withdrawal 'lies'

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Australian basketball star Liz Cambage has hit out at "lies" and "fake news" following her shock withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympics.

An emotional Cambage posted an email on her Instagram account, saying she had been at breaking point mentally.

She called Friday's announcement "literally one of the hardest decisions of my life".

But Cambage added as soon as the decision was made, she felt "a world" of anxiety, pressure and heaviness lift straight off her.

Cambage also denied rumours she had broken the Opals team bubble, saying she had not left her hotel room for a week except to play.

"Here we go again," she said. "I had been at breaking point for a month or so now," she said.

"But as soon as I put out that little statement yesterday and made the final decision, the fake news and the lies that I have seen floating around in news articles and being shown and being asked about ... umm ... yeah."

"I do not appreciate the lies and the people constantly trying to tear me down - hating on me won't bring you love, at all."

Cambage's withdrawal came after reports she was involved in on and off-court incidents which upset her Australian teammates and also allegedly left the team camp in Las Vegas in breach of team protocols.

In her video she directly responded to speculation about an on-court incident during an Opals hitout this week against Nigeria.

"Yeah, things got heated in the Nigeria game, there was a physical altercation and there were words exchanged.

"But I'm hearing things that aren't true at all.

"Everything that happened and everything I've said is on film," she said.

The 29-year-old added she had been "trapped" in her hotel room for a week, saying "I wish I did" go out and party.

"Of course I'm going to lose my mind in here. Are you serious?" she said.

"I know some of the people in Vegas have been having a really good time this week, but I've been in here, bro."

Cambage also spoke of breakdowns, non-stop panic attacks and hyperventilating at the thought of going into the Tokyo Games and its COVID-19 measures.

"I've never played without fans," she said. "I'm not okay in a bubble. I'm not okay playing in front of no fans.

"Mentally I'm an escapist - if I have no escape from a situation, it gives me anxiety and I panic.

"There's definitely no escape, except for leaving, once you get into Tokyo."

Cambage's withdrawal has thrown the Opals' Olympics campaign into disarray.

The Opals won three consecutive silver medals between 2000-2008 as well as two bronze Olympic medals, but finished fifth in Rio five years ago.

Ranked No.2 in the world, they were a legitimate shot at gold in Tokyo with Cambage leading a deep roster boasting five others currently playing in the WNBA.

Hours after she withdrew from the team, the Opals upset the United States 70-67 in a pre-Games clash.

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