Cambage slams ‘lies’ over Olympics withdrawal

Liz Cambage has called out the purported “lies” surrounding her withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympics.

The 29-year-old WNBA star announced yesterday she was withdrawing from the Tokyo Games due to focus on her mental health, highlighting the difficulties she’s experienced in the bubble during the Opals’ warm up games In Las Vegas ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

It was revealed Basketball Australia was investigating an incident with Cambage that was believed to have taken place during a closed warm-up match against Nigeria.

ESPN reported that there was a “charged verbal exchange” as well as a “physical altercation” which prompted “discussions regarding the 6-foot-8 veteran centre’s “potential removal” from the Opals for the Olympics.

News Corp also reported that Cambage was being investigated for breaking the Opals COVID-19 protocols by going out in Vegas, where she plays for the Aces in the WNBA.

Cambage said the reason driving her decision to drop out of the Games was due to mental health issues, where she detailed trouble eating and sleeping. This morning, Cambage took to Instagram to hit back at “lies” she said were reported about her.

“This decision has been a few days in the making but I’ve been at breaking point for a month or so now.

“But as soon as I put out that little statement yesterday and made the final decision, I felt a world of anxiety and pressure and heaviness I have been carrying lift straight off me.

“I’m pretty annoyed at all the fake news and the lies I’m seeing floating around in news articles and being shown and being asked about.

“I just want to say this decision was coming and I’m happy I finally made it on my own terms. It’s sad that news got leaked yesterday that I didn’t even know about.”

Cambage confirmed there was a “physical altercation” but some of the details that have crept up in the media are “crazy”.

“Yeah, things got heated in the Nigeria game. There was a physical altercation and there were words exchanged but I’m hearing things that aren’t true at all, flying around from people in Australia and America which is crazy.

“Everything that happened and everything that was said is on film. I know what happened and I do not appreciate the lies and people constantly trying to tear me down. Hating on me won’t bring you love, at all.

“But hey, I’ve been trapped in this room, with no view, with nothing, for a week. Of course I’m going to lose my mind in here, are you serious?

“I’m seeing reports I went out partying. S—. I wish I did! I know some of the people in Vegas have been having a really good time this week. But I’ve been in here, bro. I’ve been in here. And the only time I left this goddamn bubble was for the All-Star game.

“I don’t appreciate the lies. Don’t you ever get sick of lying on my name. Don’t you have anything else better to talk about?

“Yesterday was literally one of the hardest decisions of my life. But it had been coming. I’ve been having breakdowns in the carpark at Whole Foods. Non-stop panic attacks. Hyperventilating. At the thought of going into one of the most high-pressure situations, that is already in a bubble. With no fans, no friends. I’ve never played without fans.

“The main reason I sat out the WNBA last season was my mental health. I’m not OK in a bubble. I’m not OK playing in front of no fans. Mentally, I’m an escapist. If I have no escape from a situation, it gives me anxiety and I panic. And there’s definitely no escape, except for leaving, once you get into Tokyo. And I would not want to do that.”

Cambage’s exit from the squad impacts the squad immensely and is a massive blow to Australia’s Olympic campaign.

Australia is second in the FIBA rankings behind the USA and are considered gold medal contenders in Tokyo.

It also leaves the Opals a player short for Tokyo, with Cambage one of just 11 named for the Olympics with no reserve emergency players.

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