Cambage and the Opals Set Their Sights on the World Basketball Championships and Rio 2016
Two years out from her second Olympic Games and Liz Cambage already has a full schedule through to Rio in 2016.
The 22-year-old will be part of a young side hoping to make an impact at the world basketball championships in Turkey beginning at the end of September – her first step towards winning another Olympic medal.
The Opals, who finished fifth at the 2010 world titles, won the event in 2000 but face a tough campaign again this year without six members from the 2012 Olympics team that finished with the bronze medal.
“This is a very young group,” Cambage said at an Australian Olympic Committee announcement in Sydney to mark two years to the Rio Games.
“Missing from our last Olympics are Jenna O’Hea, Abby Bishop, Kathleen MacLeod, Suzy Batkovic and also Jenni Screen and Kristi Harrower who have retired,” she said.
“Thankfully we do have lots of talent coming through to fill those voids.”
Cambage also has the difficult task of juggling her playing time in Australia, China and the United States where she remains under contract with the Tulsa Shock in the WNBA after having been drafted second overall in 2011.
“I will be at the world championships of course and then back to WNBL then WNBA next year,” she said.
“During the summer next year I am not sure if I will go back to Europe or China. And then it will be back home to focus on the lead up to the Olympics.”
Standing over two metres tall, Cambage has quickly become a key player for Australia and has the potential to grow into one of the world’s best.
As Lauren Jackson’s star slowly fades, Australian basketball would be pleased with how high it sits on Cambage’s list of priorities.
Kitty Chiller, Australia’s chef de mission for Rio 2016, confirmed the team’s goal of returning to the top five in the medal tally after placing 10th in London.
“I think it is realistic,” Chiller said.
“I wouldn’t set a goal and put the expectations on our athletes if I didn’t think it was a realistic goal.”
The AOC also confirmed the Seven Network has signed an agreement for rights across all media platforms to the 2016 and 2020 Games and the 2018 Winter Olympics.