TOKYO, Jul 16 (Reuters) – Liz Cambage has pulled out of the Olympics on mental health concerns and dealt a massive blow to Australian medal hopes after Basketball Australia opened an investigation into an altercation with the 29-year-old on Thursday.
The Las Vegas Aces Center played for the Opals against Nigeria in a closed game in Las Vegas as the Australians continued their preparations ahead of their trip to Tokyo.
But after reports of an incident during the Las Vegas vote, Cambage announced its intention to withdraw from the games.
“Everyone who knows me knows that one of my biggest dreams is to win an Olympic gold medal with the opals,” she said in a statement from the Australian Olympic Committee.
“Now I don’t want to rely on the daily medication to control my anxiety. Especially when I’m competing on the largest sports stage in the world.”
“I know myself and I know I can’t be the Liz everyone deserves to see the Opals compete for. At least not now.
“It breaks my heart to announce my retirement from the Olympics but I think it’s best for the Opals and me. I just wish you luck in Tokyo and hope you win a gold medal.”
Cambage had previously threatened to boycott the Games at the Olympic photo shoots in Australia due to the lack of racial diversity before withdrawing the threat. Continue reading
She has long been a key member of the Opals cast and her commitment has been seen as as important as the Australians in Tokyo want to return to medal wins.
They were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Olympics after winning medals in each of the five previous games.
“Liz has made a huge contribution to the Australian Olympic team through two Olympic Games campaigns,” said Australia Mission Director Ian Chesterman.
“We respect her decision and wish her all the best in order to get well again.
“Our focus is now shifting to working with the Opals to help them achieve the goals they set in Tokyo.
“We know they are fully committed to success in Tokyo and still bring an incredibly strong team to this campaign.”
Reporting by Pak Yiu, writing by Michael Church, editing by Peter Rutherford
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