Sam aims to retain title: West Bradford world champion looks for a repeat in Berlin next week

Samantha Murray
Samantha Murray

Samantha Murray knows the scale of the task facing her as she looks to defend her modern pentathlon world title in Berlin next week.

But the 25-year-old feels she is in good shape going into the event, which opens on Sunday.

Samantha won bronze at the World Championships in Rome three years ago, earning qualification for London 2012, where she claimed Olympic silver.

Then last summer she took world gold in Warsaw, and started this season with victory at the opening World Cup in Sarasota.

She has been hampered by injury and illness, however, and history is against her with only four multiple champions since the first World Championship in Poland in 1981.

France’s Amélie Cazé – who won the title three times – was the last woman to defend the crown in Budapest seven years ago.

And Samantha admitted: “I think the hardest thing after winning it will be regaining it.

“The thoughts of winning it again is massive in my mind.

“But I’ve had a couple of setbacks leading up to the championships so I’ve kind of let go of the pressure and the expectation.

“I’m just looking to relax, have a smile on my face and enjoy it. Very few have won it on more than one occasion so if I win it again, it would take me on to another level totally – to be double world champion.

“But there are so many strong athletes and sometimes other people have their day. Last year, it was my day, this year it might be somebody else’s.”

Finishing in the top three would mean qualification for Rio 2016, and Samantha dreams is driven by a goal of winning Olympic gold: “That is the dream. That is what drives me on every day when I’m training - upgrading that medal from silver to gold.

“But when you’ve got the Olympic champion who is still very strong and winning every competition she enters, then I’ve still got a big challenge ahead of me to win gold at next year’s Olympics.

“You have got to keep your focus on what’s happening now.

“When I think back to 2011 and how much I changed as an athlete in a year, you can’t get too ahead of yourself.”