Just weeks after withdrawing from the Tokyo Olympics due to an incident during a warm-up scrimmage against them, Opals star Liz Cambage has sent a message of support to the Nigerian women’s basketball team.
Cambage, whose father is of Nigerian origin, sent the D’Tigress squad a video wishing them luck in their Games campaign.
“Good luck at the Olympics to everyone my D’Tigress family,” Cambage, 29, said in the post before Nigeria’s women’s team met the United States.
“Go get some hard metal. Let’s go.”
On the same day, the Opals opened their Tokyo campaign with a shocking 85-70 loss against Belgium.
Cambage unexpectedly resigned from the Australian Olympic team two weeks ago, claiming health reasons.
Her decision was influenced by a verbal and physical altercation in a closed Olympic warm-up game versus Nigeria in Las Vegas, which is still shrouded in mystery.
Cambage’s role in the dispute was investigated by Basketball Australia following the incident “for a breach of the integrity framework and code of conduct,” but few details of what happened have been published.
The captain of Nigeria gave no further details regarding the incident in Vegas.
Adaora Elonu told News Corp, “It’s something that happened behind closed doors.”
“With that, there’s nothing we can truly talk about.”
“As a country, we embrace everyone as a Nigerian,” Elonu continued.
“And because she’s half-Nigerian (Cambage), we just refer to her as Nigerian.”
“So, good or terrible, we accept her as one of us.”
Nigeria went on to lose their first Games match, 82-71, versus the Americans.
The Opals, who are ranked second in the FIBA rankings behind the USA, are considered significant gold medal hopefuls in Tokyo, but the loss of the 6-foot-8 senior center on the eve of the Olympics was a huge blow.
Cambage said in a statement that she “wishes the team well” as she concentrates on her health.
“Anyone who knows me knows that winning an Olympic gold medal with the Opals is one of my greatest ambitions. Every athlete competing in the Olympic games should be at the top of their game both mentally and physically, and right now, that is not the case” she stated.
“I’m still a long way from where I want to be and where I need to be.”
“It’s no secret that I’ve struggled with my mental health in the past, and I’ve recently been very concerned about entering a “bubble.”
The Olympics are a sporting event that takes place every There is no family. There are no pals. There are no fans.
Outside of my team, I have no support system. For me, it’s very horrifying. I’ve been getting panic attacks, not sleeping, and not eating for the past month.
“I don’t want to be reliant on daily medicine to manage my anxiety right now. Especially when competing on the biggest athletic stage on the planet.”
“I’m aware of my limitations, and I know I won’t be the Liz who deserves to fight for the Opals. At least not right now. Mentally and physically, I need to look out for myself.”
“It pains me to announce my withdrawal from the Olympics, but I believe it is in the best interests of the Opals and myself. I wish them the best of luck in Tokyo, and I sincerely hope they win a gold medal. Light and love,” she concluded.