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Australia star Cambage withdraws from Tokyo citing mental health

Juan Ocampo / National Basketball Association / Getty

Perennial WNBA All-Star Liz Cambage announced early Friday morning that she won't join the Australian national team in Tokyo later this month.

"It breaks my heart to announce I'm withdrawing from the Olympics, but I think it's best for the Opals and myself," the 29-year-old said in a written statement early Friday morning. "I wish them nothing but the best of luck in Tokyo and I hope they go forth and win a gold medal."

The decision follows reports of Cambage's involvement in a physical and verbal altercation at Thursday's closed-door scrimmage versus Nigeria.

In announcing her withdrawal, Cambage cited the need to preserve her mental wellness, revealing that she's struggled with panic attacks, a lack of sleep, and not eating for the past month.

"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 wrote. "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."

A two-time All-WNBA team selectee and four-time All-Star, Cambage previously led the league with 23 points per game in 2018.

After sitting out the pandemic-shortened 2020 season - which took place in in a bubble environment in Bradenton, Florida - the 6-foot-8 center has averaged 14.6 points 8.9 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game for the Las Vegas Aces, making the franchise a strong contender for the 2021 title.

Cambage played for Australia at the previous two Olympic tournaments, helping the Opals secure a bronze medal at the 2012 Games in London.

Australia star Cambage withdraws from Tokyo citing mental health
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