Samantha Murray retains GB crown!

Samantha Murray, right, is pictured with Mhairi Spence (left) and Alice Fitton (centre), with whom she won team gold with Bath at the GB Open Modern Pentathlon Championships in Solihull
Samantha Murray, right, is pictured with Mhairi Spence (left) and Alice Fitton (centre), with whom she won team gold with Bath at the GB Open Modern Pentathlon Championships in Solihull

West Bradford’s Samantha Murray feels she is getting back to her best after successfully defending her titles at the GB Open Modern Pentathlon Championships in Solihull on Sunday.

The London 2012 Olympic silver medallist came home first in the women’s competition to retain both the GB Open title and the British Championship crown at the Tudor Grange Leisure Centre after a superbly consistent performance, earning her qualification for the European Championships in Budapest next weekend.

Murray trailed Alice Fitton by eight points after the 200m freestyle swim, clocking 2:08.13, but she was the best of the Brits after the fencing, trailing only Hungary’s Tamara Alekszejev by six points after winning 24 of her 36 bouts.

After the ride, Alekszejev led from Fitton, with Murray third - but Murray pulled back her 26-second advantage in the run/shoot to finish nine seconds clear of Alekszejev, with Fitton third.

And Murray said: “I feel everything is starting to come together again. I’ve always been a go-getter and had that northern grit and determination - it’s what pulled me through in 2012 when I didn’t have the ability I have now.

“My fencing and running is stronger now, and overall I’m a better athlete - I’ve always been a warrior, not a worrier, I fight for everything, and I’m focussed on the Euros now and doing well there.”

Her season is picking up pace at the right time - having finished 28th and 29th respectively at World Cup 1 and 3, Murray was second at the Open French Championships last month, ahead of the Euros in Hungary.

Rio 2016 is on the horizon, but it’s a case of one event at a time: “Our training programme is geared to Rio in the long run, but that’s not my daily motivation at the moment - it’s about the next competition.

“Next year Olympic qualifying opens, and we’ll see how we go.

“Sport is a funny world and there’s a lot of expectation after London - I’ve been a marked woman since. People watch videos of you and plan how to beat you, and I’ve had to react to that.

“I’ve had to extend my repertoire in the fencing, for example.

“You become a scalp and have to manage that. I took it to heart, but recently learned not to, and that everything you do is an opportunity to do well.”