Liz Cambage Withdraws From Tokyo Olympics Citing 'Mental Health' Battles
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Liz Cambage has officially withdrawn from the Olympic Games in Tokyo, citing mental health reasons.
The Australian women's basketball team, who were the bookies' favourites to clinch a gold medal alongside the United States, will now have to compete in Tokyo without their star player.
The heartbreaking news comes just a week before the Games are due to kick-off too.
Bombshell reports emerged earlier this week that Cambage had left the Australian team camp in Las Vegas after some "behavioural concerns" came to the surface.
It's understood she had been involved in a physical altercation as well as a verbal exchange as well as breaking the team's COVID-19 protocols during a nigh out in Las Vegas.
Some speculation suggested she was facing the axe for her actions, but it seems she has now taken matters into her own hands and walked away from the team herself.
Cambage was involved in a physical altercation, as well as a charged verbal exchange, sources told ESPN. There are discussions regarding her potential removal from the team ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.- Olgun Uluc (@OlgunUluc) July 16, 2021
She announced the news in an emotional statement posted on social media.
"Anyone that knows me knows one of my biggest dreams is winning an Olympic gold medal with the Opals. Every athlete competing in the Olympic games should be at their mental and physical peak, and at the moment," she said.
"I'm a long way from where I want and need to be. 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.
"Relying on daily medication to control my anxiety is not the place I want to be right now. Especially walking into competition on the world's biggest sporting stage.
"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.
"It breaks my heart to announce I'm withdrawing from the Olympics, but I think it's best for the Opals and myself. I wish them nothing but the best of luck in Tokyo and I hope they go forth and win a gold medal. Love and light."
The Australian Olympic Committee has announced that Opal Liz Cambage has withdrawn from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic campaign.- Basketball Australia (@BasketballAus) July 16, 2021
We wish Liz all the best and are currently working with the Opals as they continue their Olympic preparations.
More information: https://t.co/GGlJCtURWh
Basketball Australia and the Australian Olympic Commission confirmed her withdrawal, while wishing her the best on her road to recovery.
"Liz has made a great contribution to the Australian Olympic Team over two Olympic Games campaigns," AOC's Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman said in a statement.
"We respect her decision and wish her the best in returning to full health.
"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."