July 16, 2021

TOKYO (Reuters) – Liz Cambage’s hopes of playing at the Olympic Games are in the balance after Basketball Australia launched an investigation into an altercation involving the Las Vegas Aces centre in the United States on Thursday.

The 29-year-old played for the Opals against Nigeria in a closed-doors game in Las Vegas as the Australians continued their preparations ahead of their trip to Tokyo.

“We’ve been informed by Basketball Australia that they are investigating an issue,” Australian Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman said in Tokyo on Friday.

“We have not received any further report except for that.

“So it will be a matter of them working through with Basketball Australia to see if there’s any resulting decisions that need to be made.”

Cambage previously threatened to boycott the Games over a lack of racial diversity in Australia’s Olympic photo-shoots before backtracking on the threat.

She has long been a key member of the Opals line-up and her involvement is seen as vital as the Australians look to return to medal-winning ways in Tokyo.

They crashed out of the 2016 Olympics in the quarter-finals having won medals in each of the five previous Games.

“I think every team wants its best players present,” Chesterman said.

“Liz has been a very strong performer for the Opals over many years, but I do know whoever pulls the green and gold for the Opals — I’ve worked pretty closely with them over the last couple years — will be fully committed to keeping their incredible Olympic record alive.”

(Reporting by Pak Yiu, Writing by Michael Church, Editing by Peter Rutherford)