Australian basketball star Elizabeth Cambage pulls out of Tokyo Olympics over 'terrifying' coronavirus bubble in Japan
AUSTRALIAN basketball star Elizabeth Cambage has pulled out of the Tokyo Olympics over fears of living in a Covid-19 bubble.
Several athletes have already withdrawn from the Games due to Covid concerns, with British tennis player Dan Evans testing positive for the virus.
All athletes competing in the delayed Games will be forced to live in a bio-secure bubble in Tokyo until their participation ends.
Social contact will be kept to a minimum during that time, with stars even being forced to eat alone.
There are fears the strict environment will have a detrimental effect on the mental wellbeing of the athletes, with Cambage being the first to pull out.
The 29-year-old said: "Anyone that knows me knows one of my biggest dreams is winning an Olympic gold medal with the Opals.
"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 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, not sleeping and not eating.
"Relying on daily medication to control my anxiety is not the place I want to be right now. Especially walking into competition on the world's biggest sporting stage.
"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.
"It breaks my heart to announce I'm withdrawing from the Olympics, but I think it's best for the Opals and myself.
"I wish them nothing but the best of luck in Tokyo and I hop they go forth and win a gold medal."
The Olympics are due to begin on July 23 – despite several athletes pulling out of the Games due to Covid-related problems.
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Tennis stars Evans, Alex de Minaur and Johanna Konta have all been forced to withdraw from the event due to a positive Covid test.
And tennis icon Serena Williams has decided against competing, although she hasn't clarified whether the pandemic is a reason for her decision.
Covid cases in Tokyo have hit a six-month high and there are fears the Olympics could become a super spreader event.
Fans will not be in attendance at the Games but thousands of people are still expected to flood in and out of Japan in the coming weeks.
The lack of spectators has led to tennis star Nick Kyrgios withdrawing, claiming 'it doesn't sit right with me' to play with no fans.
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