Samantha starts road to Rio, in Rio!

BACK IN ACTION: Olympic silver medallist Samantha Murray
BACK IN ACTION: Olympic silver medallist Samantha Murray

OLYMPIC silver medallist Samantha Murray’s season got underway yesterday at the second modern pentathlon World Cup of the year in Rio de Janeiro - home of the 2016 Games.

Having taken time out following her remarkable 2012 season, which included a bronze medal at the World Championships in Rome, as well as her heroics in London, the 23-year-old took part in qualification in Rio, ahead of tomorrow’s final.

It was a first return to international action since winning Team GB’s 65th and final medal of the Olympics.

Pentathlon GB performance director Jan Bartu said: “Samantha had a long, exhausting and very successful 2012 season, so we’ve given her time to regroup and come back to training gradually.

“This is an opportunity to see how much performance level she has carried forward from 2012 and to see where her potential strengths and gaps are at the moment.

“It’s also a priceless opportunity for the team to check out the travel, transition, acclimatisation, culture and food in Rio.”

Murray added: “This is the first time I’ve been to Brazil so I’ve been really looking forward to the experience and to competing again.

“It will be good to get back in the saddle again and do another pentathlon.”

Fellow London Olympians Mhairi Spence, who won the World Championship in Rome, and Nick Woodbridge are also making their seasonal debuts, while 19-year-old Joe Evans is given another chance to impress after his bronze medal in his first World Cup in Palm Springs last month.

Former world junior champion Jamie Cooke, Sam Curry, Katy Burke and Kate French make up the British team for the competition.

After Rio, the World Cup moves on to Chengdu, China in April, Budapest in May and the final at the end of May and beginning of June in Nizhny-Novgorod, Russia.

Then comes the European Championships in July in Drzonkow, Poland, and the World Championships in August in Kaoshiung, Chinese Taipei.