Liz Cambage called to private hearing over Olympics investigation

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·Sports Reporter
·5-min read
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Liz Cambage has been asked to front a private Basketball Australia hearing over an alleged altercation during a practice match against Nigeria leading up to the Tokyo Olympics. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Liz Cambage has been asked to front a private Basketball Australia hearing over an alleged altercation during a practice match against Nigeria leading up to the Tokyo Olympics. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Australian basketball star Liz Cambage will be required to front a private hearing before an independent Basketball Australia panel after the investigation into her pre-Olympics conduct was completed.

In investigation was opened after a practice game against Nigeria ahead of the Tokyo Olympics got out of hand, with Cambage admitting afterwards that there was a 'physical altercation' and that things got 'heated'.

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The investigation was conducted by Basketball Australia's integrity unit, which was called in after BA deemed Cambage's actions in the Las Vegas practice game to be in “breach of the integrity framework and code of conduct”.

As a result of the controversy, Cambage ultimately withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics, citing mental health concerns and exhaustion from being in bubble environments.

Cambage had been subject to numerous Covid-19 protocols as part of her WNBA season with the Las Vegas Aces.

The 30-year-old will front the private hearing via Zoom, once her playoff run with the Aces has been completed.

Neither Cambage, her manager, or Basketball Australia have offered comment on the latest development in the incident.

In a media release back in July, Basketball Australia confirmed the nature of the investigation into Cambage.

"The circumstances surrounding the incident that occurred during the scrimmage between Nigeria and Australia involving Liz Cambage are currently under investigation for a breach of the integrity framework and code of conduct," the statement read.

"As Liz has withdrawn from the Olympic Games due to mental health reasons we will not make any comments on the status of the investigation until the matter is concluded."

Cambage took to social media in the days after the decision to withdraw from the Games to emphatically deny some of the suggestions about her conduct.

“I’m pretty annoyed at all the fake news and the lies I’m seeing floating around in news articles and being shown and being asked about," she said.

“I just want to say this decision was coming and I’m happy I finally made it on my own terms. It’s sad that news got leaked yesterday that I didn’t even know about.

“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, flying around from people in Australia and America which is crazy.

“Everything that happened and everything that was said is on film. I know what happened and I do not appreciate the lies and people constantly trying to tear me down."

Liz Cambage sorely missed at Tokyo Olympics after Opals fail to fire

Opals coach Sandy Brondello and other senior players described the massive impact WNBA star Liz Cambage's last-minute withdrawal had on the team after they were knocked out in the quarter-finals of the Tokyo games.

After narrowly making it into the quarter final thanks to a crucial victory over Puerto Rico, the Opals were sent packing in brutal fashion after a beatdown from Team USA, 79-55.

For three-time silver medallists Australia, the early exit followed a quarter-final loss to Serbia in Rio five years ago and capped a campaign that was flipped on its head by WNBA All-Star Cambage's absence.

Despite an impressive victory against Team USA in a practice match prior to the Olympics, without Cambage in the team, it was clear her absence had robbed the Opals of a key presence.

Brondello had tried to downplay Cambage's absence, but after their limp exit couldn't keep up the charade.

Liz Cambage's absence from the Australian Opals severely affected their campaign at the Tokyo Olympics, only making it to the quarter finals. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Liz Cambage's absence from the Australian Opals severely affected their campaign at the Tokyo Olympics, only making it to the quarter finals. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

"It's been a really interesting few weeks that we've had to deal with ... losing a big part of our team and trying to find our identity," she said.

"It was hard as a coach when you have a player in and the last minute taken out, especially with the limited preparation (with two games in 18 months due to COVID-19).

"Lack of preparation (hurt) and maybe a little bit of emotional energy ... it wasn't easy, I was pretty drained to be quite honest.

"Liz, she's one of the best players in the world."

Veteran centre Marianne Tolo, who took the starting spot in Cambage's absence, as well as sharpshooter Leilani Mitchell, said there was no doubt the loss of the Las Vegas Aces star had hurt them.

“It was really hard,” Tolo said.

“Especially being so close to the Olympics, we didn’t have much time to adjust.

“I think that was the biggest thing. We’re used to playing with her and playing a certain way and then finding our feet after that didn’t feel as comfortable.”

With AAP

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