Euro glory for Clitheroe’s Sam

Samantha Murray
Samantha Murray
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SAMANTHA Murray’s superb 2012 continued at the weekend as she won the Budapest Cup in Hungary.

The Clitheroe modern pentathlete beat GB team-mate Kate French into second, following on from her victory at the Hungarian Indoor Championships, also in Budapest, last month, and sixth place at the opening World Cup of the year in Charlotte, North Carolina earlier this month.

In Hungary, the 22-year-old was fifth in the fencing, second in the swim and went clear in the ride, to lead the field going into combined run and shoot.

She then clocked a time of 12.44.34 to take gold, finishing 23 seconds ahead of French, who is No.2 in the world junior rankings.

Murray beamed: “Budapest was a great competition – it was more of a day to practice and prepare for the World Cups in April, but it was superb to win.

“I have more to give in all five elements of my performance, although this time my ride was perfect in terms of the points score of 1,200.”

She just hopes there is enough time to continue her improvement and snatch one of two places in the British team at the Olympic Games.

Murray has been selected for the remaining two World Cups of the year, at Szazhalombatta in Hungary and Rostov in Russia next month, with the results used to decide the British team for the World Championships in Rome in May, which is the next opportunity for athletes to achieve the Olympic qualifying standard.

She added: “It is just a case of whether I have enough time this season to get my best performances out.

“I’m young, so it could take another year until my full potential is produced in competition.

“In the meantime, I’m working hard to make it happen.

“It’s great to be selected for the next two World Cups, and I’m really looking forward to getting out there and smashing it up!”

She is 25th in the senior world rankings, but is the fifth British woman in the rankings and one of six in the world’s top 35.

With only four able to compete at the World Championships, the competition for places in Rome will be intense.

GB performance director Jan Bartu admits Britain’s pentathletes now have to go flat out to secure places at the World Championships: “Once they get to the World Cups they need to go flat out.

“That’s how it is at this point, there’s no hiding place.”

Murray has stepped up her preparations this week at a training camp in Germany.

She said: “We’ve come here to get some fencing practise in against better opponents, which can only improve us.

“Something the UK lacks is good fencers. I find it odd that fencing in Europe is huge, yet the UK is lagging a long, long way behind, except men’s foil, where we have a reasonable team.”

Murray would like to thank sponsors James Alpe, who have provided her with a car to help her get to training, and Johnson Matthey, who have supplied equipment.

To give her a sponsorship boost, you can contact her at samantha.murray89@gmail.com, or follow her on twitter @_samanthamurray.