Australian Basketball star Liz Cambage has withdrawn from this year’s Olympics for mental health reasons.
The 29-year-old is a four-time Women’s National Basketball Association all-star and previously won bronze with Australia at the London Olympics in 2012.
Speaking on Twitter, the centre revealed that one of her “biggest dreams” is winning an Olympic gold medal but that she’s not in the right state of mind to compete.
“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.
“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.
Cambage isn’t the only athlete to express concerns over the challenges of ‘bubble’ life. World number one tennis star Novak Djokovic was stunned to hear the Athletes Village might be so restricted that he wouldn’t be able to watch others in person or bring along key personnel, like his racket stringer.
The Serbian has now confirmed he will make the trip to Tokyo, posting on social media that he had booked his flight as he remains in search of his first Olympic gold medal.
For Cambage, though, the prospect of surviving ‘bubble’ life alone is too much to handle. The Southside Flyers star revealed she relies on daily medication to control her anxiety and that she doesn’t feel comfortable playing on the world’s biggest sporting stage.
“No family. No friends. No fans. No support system outside my team. It’s honestly terrifying for me. The past month I have been having panic attacks, not sleeping and not eating.
“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.”
Focus now will surely turn to preparing for the upcoming Women’s National Basketball League season. The Flyers are the defending champions, having beaten the Townsville Fire 99-82 in the Grand Final.
This year’s Basketball Olympic competition gets underway on Sunday, 25th July and runs through to Sunday, 8th August.