'Breaks my heart': Liz Cambage in shock withdrawal from Olympics

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·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
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Liz Cambage, pictured here with Opals teammates.
Liz Cambage has announced her withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympics. Image: Instagram

Australian basketball star Liz Cambage has withdrawn from the Tokyo Olympics just a week before they are set to begin amid a Basketball Australia investigation into her behaviour.

According to ESPN basketball reporter Olgun Oluc, Cambage was involved in a 'physical altercation' and a 'verbal exchange' with rival players during the practice game earlier this week.

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As a result, her Opals teammates reportedly started 'discussions' about her 'potential removal' from the Olympic team.

Cambage is believed to have upset her teammates by allegedly breaking team rules to go out in Las Vegas.

The Opals picked a squad of just 11 players for the Olympics, with no reserves - meaning that Cambage's absence from the Games will leave the Opals shorthanded.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Cambage said she had been struggling with anxiety leading into the games due to fears over being isolated in the Olympic team's 'bubble'.

"Every athlete competing at the Olympic Games should be at their mental and physical peak, and at the moment, I'm a long way from where I need and want to be," Cambage wrote.

"It's no secret that in the past I've struggled with my mental health and recently I've been really worried about heading into a 'bubble' Olympics.

"No family. No friends. No fans. No support outside of my team. It's honestly terrifying for me.

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"The past month I have been having panic attacks, not sleeping and not eating.

"I know myself, and I know I can't be the Liz everyone deserves to see compete for the Opals. Not right now at least.

"It breaks my heart to announce I'm withdrawing from the Olympics, but I think it's best for the Opals and myself."  

Australian Olympic Committee chef-de-mission Ian Chesterman said on Friday morning that Basketball Australia was investigating the reports, but was unable to offer further comment.

"Basketball Australia is investigating the issue and we have no further information," Chesterman said. 

"It will be a matter for them to work out with Basketball Australia to see if there is any resulting decision that needs to be made."

Basketball Australia responds to Liz Cambage withdrawal

Following her withdrawal, Chesterman said the AOC respects Cambage's decision.

“Liz has made a great contribution to the Australian Olympic Team over two Olympic Games campaigns. We respect her decision and wish her the best in returning to full health," he said in a statement.

“Our focus now moves to working with the Opals so they can achieve the goals they have set for themselves in Tokyo. We know they are totally committed to achieving success in Tokyo and they will still bring a incredibly strong team to this campaign."

Cambage did not play in the WNBA All-Star game earlier this week after picking up a hip complaint during Opals practice.

It remains to be determined whether the 29-year-old will take her place in the team.

Cambage has been a standout for the Aces this season, averaging 14.8 points and 9.1 rebounds.

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