Samantha Murray into final on return to action

FINAL: Samantha Murray has qualified for Friday's final
FINAL: Samantha Murray has qualified for Friday's final
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OLYMPIC silver medalist Samantha Murray is into Friday’s final of the second modern pentathlon World Cup of the season in Rio.

All four British women in action qualified safely, as Murray, world champion Mhairi Spence , Katy Burke and Kate French all progressed from their semi-finals on Wednesday.

Murray and French both went in semi-final B, which started with the fencing.

French achieved 19 wins from 31 bouts to start the day in sixth with 916 points, while Murray’s 15 wins put her 16th on 804 points.

French maintained her top-10 position overall, in the swim with a time of 2:35.25 for the 200m freestyle.

She added 1084 points to her total to go into the combined event in seventh place, 21 seconds behind Russia’s Donata Rimsaite, who led.

Murray started the run/shoot three seconds behind French.

Her swim of 2:14.99 was the fourth fastest of the semi-final, and the fastest achieved by the British team on the day.

It earned her 1184 pentathlon points, pushing her up to joint ninth.

French cruised into the final in sixth place overall in semi-final B courtesy of a run/shoot time of 13:50.50, the joint eighth best of the day. She came home 15 seconds behind Rimsaite to progress to Friday’s final.

Murray also did enough to progress.

She clocked 13:55.10, the 13th fastest time and 23 seconds back from Rimsaite.

Her 13th place finish overall was enough to see her progress safely to the final.

In semi-final A, the athletes started in the pool, where both Burke and Spence achieved top-10 finishes for the 200m freestyle swim.

Burke’s 2:16.06 was the fourth fastest time in the semi, earning 1168 points. Spence’s 2:18.95 was the ninth fastest and worth 1136 points.

Burke won half of her 30 fencing bouts to add 832 pentathlon points to her total. That saw her go into the run/shoot in 13th place, one spot off an automatic route through to the final.

She started the run/shoot 43 seconds behind London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Laura Asadauskaite of Lithuania, who led the field.

Spence started the run/shoot in 16th place, 47 seconds behind the Lithuanian, after winning 17 of her 30 fencing contests to add 848 points to her total.

The British pair both made sure of places in Friday’s final. Spence’s 14:06.70 saw her end the day 17th overall, while Burke’s 14:23.00 put her 18th. Asadauskaite topped the leaderboard.

This season, for the first time, the top 12 finishers in the two semis progress automatically to the final, along with the 12th next highest points scorers.

“All four athletes are through to the final. They’re all there and that was what we were aiming for, so I’m happy,” said Istvan Nemeth, Pentathlon GB women’s head coach.