Opals star Liz Cambage is the latest Australian athlete to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics, with the basketballer citing mental health reasons.
Basketball Australia and the Australian Olympic Commission confirmed the news in a statement released a short time ago.
“Liz has made a great contribution to the Australian Olympic Team over two Olympic Games campaigns,” the statement said.
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“We respect her decision and wish her the best in returning to full health.”
Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman said the 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,” Mr Chesterman said.
Cambage also released a statement, wishing the team well as she focuses on her health.
“Anyone that knows me knows one of my biggest dreams is winning an Olympic gold medal with the Opals,” she said.
“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.”
Cambage continued by saying that “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,” she said.
“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.”
Cambage said it breaks her heart to withdraw from the Olympics, but admitted “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.
The Australian Olympic Committee said it will now explore the potential for a late replacement for Cambage.
The withdrawal comes just hours after Aussie tennis star Alex de Minaur was forced to pull out of Tokyo after testing positive to coronavirus in Spain.