Murray aiming for historic World gold

Samantha Murray
Samantha Murray
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  • Murray aiming to defend world championship modern pentathlon crown
  • Preston-born athlete is one of the favourites to win gold in Berlin
  • Olympic silver medallist will partner Joanna Muir in relay event

History will be very much against modern pentathlon star Samantha Murray when she defends her World Championship title in Berlin.

The Preston-born athlete heads to the German capital at the end of this month rightly billed as the woman to beat.

“I know going into this competition, the thoughts of winning it again is massive in my mind.

A London Olympic Games silver medallist, Murray became world champion last year when she gloriously took gold in Warsaw, Poland.

But very few women in the past have managed to win the title on more than one occasion.

Since the first ever world championship held in Zielona Góra, Poland, in 1981, there have been 26 winners with only four multiple champions.

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

And Murray – who hails from the Ribble Valley – would dearly love to elevate her name alongside Cazé and the three other former multiple champions Irina Kiseleva, Eva Fjellerup and Zsuzsa Vörös.

But she is under no illusions as to the task facing her, considering the quality of the rest of the field.

Olympic champion Laura Asadauskaite, of Lithuania, is the form athlete heading into Berlin, while Hungary’s Zsofia Foldhazi and Lena Schoneborn, of Germany, will also fancy their chances of taking gold.

Murray’s preparations for the event have also been hampered by injury and a mild illness, which means she goes into the event with slightly lower expectations.

“I think the hardest thing after winning it will be regaining it,” Murray said.

“I know going into this competition, 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 was to win it again it would take me on to another level totally – to be double world champion.

“But I know how hard the sport is and how it all works.

“There are so many strong athletes and sometimes other people have their day.

“You can’t always pick your day. Last year, it was my day, this year it might be somebody else’s.

“All I can do is work hard and everything depends on what happens on the day of the final.

“Hopefully I can do enough to win but if not then you 
have got to be happy for whoever it is who wins and be gracious.”

Murray has been training at altitude this month at her regular Font-Romeu base situated in the South of France close to the border with Spain.

She will fly to Berlin on Monday, June 29, before competing in the relay first alongside young GB athlete Joanna Muir, who won a silver medal at the European Junior Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, last month.

After the relay competition, Murray will turn her attention to the individual event.

She will be confident of qualifying for the final, which takes place on Sunday, July 4.