Cambage shock withdrawal from Olympics

Opals basketball star Liz Cambage has withdrawn from the Olympics citing mental health concerns.
Opals basketball star Liz Cambage has withdrawn from the Olympics citing mental health concerns.

Australian basketball star Liz Cambage has quit the Tokyo Olympic team citing mental health concerns in a massive blow for the Opals' medal hopes.

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) announced the shock news after Cambage fell out with the Opals during their pre-Olympic training camp in Las Vegas.

She was reportedly involved in a number of incidents which upset her Australian teammates and resulted in her walking out on their team camp.

The AOC announced her shock withdrawal on Friday.

Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman said he respected 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. "

Cambage said she was concerned for her mental health when in the coronavirus bubble in Tokyo and said she'd had "panic attacks" and had been taking medication.

"Every athlete competing in the Olympic games should be at their mental and physical peak, and at the moment, I'm a long way from where I want and need to be," the 29-year-old said.

"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 system outside of my team. It's honestly terrifying for me. 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. I need to take care of myself mentally and physically."

The AOC will explore the potential for a late replacement for Cambage in the Opals team.

Basketball Australia (BA) had launched an investigation following reports that Cambage was involved in a physical altercation during a closed-door scrimmage against Nigeria as part of the Opals' Olympic preparations.

The four-time WNBA All-Star also allegedly broke team protocols to go out in Las Vegas, where she plays with the Aces in the WNBA.

Australian Associated Press