Liz Cambage Australia Opals, WNBA, Olympics fallout, Jenna O’Hea

Former Opals captain Jenna O’Hea has lifted the lid on Liz Cambage’s controversial Olympics withdrawal last year, alleging the WNBA star racially vilified her Nigerian opponents during a heated warm-up match.

The highly publicized moment contributed to Cambage walking away from the national team, whom she has not had any contact with since. The Opals bombed at the Tokyo Olympics, winning just one of three pool matches before being dumped out by the USA in the quarter-finals.

Campage was independently investigated by Basketball Australia and issued a formal reprimand, though not suspended nor fined, after the practice game altercation derailed the Opals’ Olympic campaign.

But until now, details have been scarce on what actually happened.

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Australian basketball star Liz Cambage won't play for the Opals again, according to former captain Jenna O'Hea.
Australian basketball star Liz Cambage won’t play for the Opals again, according to former captain Jenna O’Hea.Source: News Corp Australia

Speaking on ABC’s OffsidersO’Hea was visibly uncomfortable speaking about the moment but confirmed host Kelli Underwood’s assertion.

“This all started in that training game, or in the pre-Olympics game, when you played Nigeria,” Underwood opened.

“And it’s never really emerged what happened, but I’ve had it confirmed from a few sources, is it correct that you were playing Nigeria and Liz Cambidge had her feathers ruffled and she turned to them and said ‘Go back to your third world’ country’. And, of course, Ezi Magbegor is originally a Nigerian and a Nigerian who is now living in Australia and playing for your team, and as a result there was a brawl that erupted and since then you haven’t spoken to her?”

“That is all 100 per cent correct,” O’Hea responded.

Happier times: Former Opals captain Jenna O’Hea ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.Source: Supplied

Fellow guest Caroline Wilson then asked O’Hea would Cambage ever represent her nation again.

“No,” O’Hea said bluntly.

ABC broadcaster Corbin Middlemas said he was “staggered” that Basketball Australia had not come clean on the incident.

“I find it staggering, to be honest, that Basketball Australia have never detailed exactly what went on and how we got to this position,” he said.

He added: “The outcome is one of the most dominant players on planet Earth, who is Australian, is never going to represent Australia again, and it’s almost like there’s this acceptance that we don’t want her to play for us and she doesn’t ‘t want to play for us and that’s it and it’s finished and there’s nothing left to say.”

Australian’s pivot Liz Cambage (C) has likely played her last match for Australia. photo: AFPSource: AFP

A Basketball Australia hearing last October found Cambage guilty of prohibitive conduct on one charge and dismissed three other charges.

“The panel after examination of the evidence before it, determined that Elizabeth Cambage did engage in conduct that brought Basketball Australia into censure in relation to one of the incidents charged,” the statement said.

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