15/04/2024
Liz Cambage Opals

Liz Cambage announced her withdrawal from the Opals side headed to the Tokyo Olympics on Friday. Photo: FIBA

Liz Cambage has made the decision to withdraw from the Olympics making the announcement in a statement on Friday.

Two time Olympian Liz Cambage has officially withdrawn from the Australian Women’s Basketball team headed to Tokyo to compete at the 2020 Olympic games.

The decision comes follows a number of athletes making the decision to withdraw from Tokyo 2020 in recent days, most notably a large contingent of tennis stars electing to withdraw citing various reasons.

29-year-old Cambage has been a key member of the Opals for the past 12 years, playing her first match with the side in 2009 against China.

The decision to step away from the Tokyo Olympics does not spell the end of her national representation as Cambage cited the need to focus on her own health and well being.

“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,” Cambage said in a statement released on Friday afternoon.

“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,” she concluded.

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Ian Chesterman, Chef de Mission for the Australian team in Tokyo, respected Cambage’s decision and looked to ensuring the side can still fulfil its ambitions in Tokyo.

“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.

“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 an incredibly strong team to this campaign.”

The Australian Olympic Committee will now look to find a potential replacement for Cambage in the Opals Team. The Opals’ first match is on July 27 against Belgium.

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