FRESH from winning her first Modern Pentathlon World Cup medal in Russia on Saturday, Clitheroe’s Samantha Murray has had a welcome break this week ahead of her next focus – the World Championships in Rome in a fortnight.
The 22-year-old continued her superb form this year by taking bronze at World Cup 4 in Rostov, following up her previous best career result the previous week, when she was fourth in Budapest.
Rostov was the final chance for Great Britain athletes to press their claims for World Championships selection, and having finished as top Brit for the second successive World Cup, Samantha will now have chance to achieve the Olympic qualifying standard in Rome, where she will also try to qualify for the World Cup Final in China later in May.
And a top-two showing among the Brits in Rome would go a long way to earning a place at London.
Samantha said: “It’s all about the World Championships now.
“I’m having a couple of days of rest, a few massages and I’ll see my sports psychologist before focusing on Rome.
“I’m not expecting anything, I’ll just do my best and see where I finish up.
“But after that, the picture will be clearer about who goes to the Olympics, and even though I’ve done really well this year, if I’m the third Brit home there, it’s over.
“I beat Heather Fell in Russia, but she’s one of our best, and Mhairi Spence wasn’t there, but she is really strong as well.
“I’ll just keep my feet on the ground and give everything in Rome.”
In Russia, she won 18 contests from 35 in the fencing for joint 12th place, before clocking 2.09.73 in the swim, to climb to second going into the ride.
There she moved into pole position, with only two fences down in the riding area to add 1,160 points to her total.
In the run/shoot, Samantha held onto the lead until the final 1k run, but Belarussian Anastasiya Prokopenko overhauled her, and she was pipped to silver at the finish by Victoria Tereshuk of Ukraine – the reigning World champion.
Jan Bartu, Pentathlon GB’s performance director, said: “Samantha had a very balanced day. She was leading a World Cup for the first time in her life going into the run/shoot with some strong athletes behind her, so it was good for us to see how she handled the situation.
“She has demonstrated consistency at a high level.”
Murray is grateful to sponsors James Alpe, who provided her with a car to help her get to training, and Johnson Matthey, who supplied equipment.