Australian basketball star Liz Cambridge on Monday denied using racist language against a Nigerian team during a warm-up match for last summer’s Tokyo Olympics.
Opal, a 30-year-old staunch supporter of the Australian women’s Olympic basketball team, recently withdrew from the Games citing concerns over her mental health due to “terrible” isolation concerns in the Covid-19 “bubble”. .
But over the weekend, Australian media reported footage of a grueling, closed-door practice match in the United States, saying it was “five minutes into the Las Vegas scuffle that ended Liz Cambridge’s Opal career.”
Citing “several Australian and three Nigerian players”, News Corp Australia complained that, after a physical altercation, Cambyses told his opponent to “return to your third world country” and called them “monkeys”.
London-born Cambyses, whose father is Nigerian, denied the allegations and posted a statement on Instagram.
“I am deeply saddened and hurt by the incidents and allegations that have surfaced in the Australian media. The recalculation of what happened is wrong and confusing, “said Cambridge, who plays for the Los Angeles Sparks at the WNBA.
“I did not use racial slurs against the propagated Nigerian group.”
Cambyses also denies intentionally hitting an opposing player.
Cambyses, who won bronze with the Opals at the 2012 London Olympics, also threatened to boycott the Tokyo Games for lack of color in promotional photos published by the Australian Olympic Committee.
The committee said that future photoshoots will reflect the diversity of athletes.
Cambyses did not attend the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which was delayed by a year due to the epidemic, as the Opals advanced to the quarterfinals.
In December, Cambyses said he was “zero” interested in playing for Australia in the Women’s Basketball World Cup on home soil this September.
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