Clitheroe’s Samantha on course for place in Olympics

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AS the battle for places in the Great Britain team for the London Olympics intensifies, Clitheroe’s Samantha Murray did her hopes no harm whatsover with a sixth-place finish at the opening Modern Pentathlon World Cup of the year in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Murray was the second-placed Brit, behind Mhairi Spence, who claimed the silver medal, with Heather Fell finishing seventh.

There will be a maximum of two women’s places on the British Olympic team, and the competition for those spots is pushing the pentathletes on to further improve their performances.

Jan Bartu, Pentathlon GB performance director, said: “All three Brits have made us proud showing physical improvements and solid skills.

“It was pleasure to watch Mhairi’s fencing, Heather’s riding and Samantha’s reinvented combined event performances.

“The ladies’ team can take now team days off before transit to Brazil for Rio de JaneiroWorld Cup.”

Murray soared up to 15th with a time of 2.10.50 for the 200m freestyle – the second fastest time of the day, before continuing her momentum in the ride, having just one fence down to add 1180 points to her total, taking her to 11th going into the run/shoot.

Murray recorded the fifth fastest run/shoot time of the day – her 11.34.10 saw her climb to sixth, the second highest World Cup finish of her career, on the back of her win in the Hungarian Indoor Championships last month, and success in the final national selection competition in Bath earlier this year.

The former Bowland High School pupil had qualified comfortably from semi-final A, crossing the finish line at the head of the field alongside eventual winner Lena Schoneborn – Germany’s Beijing 2008 Olympic gold medallist, and Michelle Kelly of the USA.

Murray’s performances included setting the fastest time of the group in the pool, clocking 2:09.69 for the 200m freestyle.