CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses mental health issues.

Aussie basketball gun Liz Cambage has withdrawn from the Tokyo Olympics, announcing her decision to step back from her place in the Opals squad on Friday afternoon.

In a statement released on social media, the 29-year-old center said she has been suffering panic attacks for the last month, as well as being unable to sleep or eat properly. She has also been taking daily medication to manage her anxiety, which she feels has been heightened by the possibility of heading into an isolating environment at the upcoming Games.

“It’s no secret that in the past I’ve struggled with my mental health,” she wrote.

“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, and not sleeping and not eating.”

Liz said she believes it’s best for herself and the wider Opals team if she steps back from representing Australia at the Olympics – which are planned to begin on Friday, July 23 – as feels she’s not at her mental and physical peak.

“I know myself,” she wrote.

“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.”

Her post comes in the wake of reports she was involved in an “altercation” during a pre-Olympics scrimmage game against Nigeria.

Per the ABC, Australia’s chef de mission Ian Chesterman said he respects Liz’s decision to withdraw from the Games.

“Liz has made a great contribution to the Australian Olympic team over two Olympic Games campaigns,” he wrote in a statement.

“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.”

Alongside Liz Cambage, tennis star Alex De Minaur was forced out of the Olympics on Friday morning after returning a positive COVID-19 test. Nick Kyrgios has also withdrawn, saying that playing in empty stadiums “doesn’t sit right” with him.


If you need mental health support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or chat online

Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.

If you require immediate assistance, please call 000.

Image: Getty Images / Robert Cianflone