Samantha Murray is the new modern pentathlon world champion
Britain’s Samantha Murray is the new modern pentathlon world champion after striking gold in Warsaw today (Friday).
And there was a double celebration for the British team as she joined forces with Kate French and Freyja Prentice to secure the silver medal for Great Britain in the team competition.
Twenty-four-year-old Murray becomes only the fourth British woman to win individual Modern Pentathlon World Championship gold and her success today followed an individual bronze at the 2012 World Championships in Rome and silver at the London 2012 Olympics.
Murray’s performances today included a modern pentathlon short course world record for the 200m freestyle and she looked calm and relaxed as she climbed from third to first in the run/shoot to secure gold.
“It doesn’t feel real,” said Murray, who is originally from Clitheroe in Lancashire and now lives in Bath, where she trains at the Pentathlon GB National Training Centre at the University of Bath.
“I’ve worked so hard for this and I’ve been aiming for this competition for a while. To be able to say I’m world champion is absolutely fantastic. I dreamed of this so often and now my dream has come true.
“When I started to relax and smile today all the work I have put in came through. I couldn't believe how easy the combined event felt. I was really on top of it today.
“My coaches Istvan (Nemeth) Frici (Foldes) and Jan (Bartu) have had so much faith in me. They've given me so much support and pushed me when I needed it and my training partners have been great. I owe a massive thank you to so many people."
And she paid tribute to 2012 world champion Mhairi Spence, who didn't make the final today but helped Murray during her campaign. “Having someone of her experience helping me was fantastic. I owe her a huge thank you,” she said.
Jan Bartu, Pentathlon GB Performance Director, said: “It was a world class performance. It’s fantastic to see her back because it hasn’t been easy for her over the last year.
“She decided to go for it and this is the reward for the hard work. She showed maximum composure in the combined event today. From her first shot she was absolutely relaxed and she kept a fantastic rhythmic.
“It was an amazing improvement on how she was shooting last year and it's a credit to Istvan Nemeth and the coaching team, and to the English Institute of Sport team who have all contributed to this success.
“It was a well deserved silver medal for the team today,” he added. “They were beaten by a better team – the Chinese were almost perfect today.”
Murray is Britain’s fourth individual woman modern pentathlon world champion and follows in the footsteps of Wendy Norman (1982), Steph Cook (2001) and Mhairi Spence (2012).
Murray started her campaign today by winning 18 of her 34 fencing bouts to put her joint 14th with 208 pentathlon points. French and Prentice won 14 contests each, to start the day in joint 23rd with 184 points. Russia’s Donata Rimsaite led the field with 25 victories for 250 points.
Murray produced a storming swim to climb to second place on the leaderboard. Her time of 2:03.84 was a 200m freestyle modern pentathlon world record in a short course pool – smashing the record of 2:04.26 set by Hungary’s Sarolta Kovacs at the European Championships in Medway three years ago.
That time earned Murray 329 pentathlon points taking her total to 537 points and putting her 10 points behind Kovacs, the new overall leader.
French’s time of 2:16.89 was the 19th fastest of the day and added 290 points to her total, putting her 25th. Prentice’s 2:19.40 was the 28th fastest, earning 282 points and putting her 28th overall going into the ride.
Murray kept up her momentum with a steady round in the riding arena. She went clear, but incurred six time penalties to add 294 points to her total. That meant she went to the combined event in third with 831 points.
She started 16 seconds behind Kovacs, who still led the field, and five seconds behind Rimsaite, who had moved up to second place.
Prentice dropped seven points from the maximum 300 available in the ride to go into the combined event in 25th, 88 seconds off the lead, while French collected 286 points in the ride to go into the run shoot in 24th, starting a second ahead of Prentice.
Murray looked relaxed as she set off on the run/shoot, moving past Kovacs into the lead on the second of four 800m running legs. She shot calmly and her lead never looked in doubt, and she crossed the finish line triumphantly with a huge smile on her face. Her combined event time of 12:00.6 was the second fastest of the day.
China’s Qian Chen came home eight seconds later to take silver, with her team-mate Wanxia Liang taking bronze, a further 19 seconds back.
Prentice’s produced the fifth best run/shoot of the day with a time of 12:07.73 to climb to 19th, while French’s 12:37.52 was 17th fastest and saw her finish in 26th.
And there was a double celebration with the performances of Murray, Prentice and French sing Great Britain take team silver behind China.
Tomorrow (Saturday) the men return to action in their final with Jamie Cooke and 19-year-old Joe Choong representing Great Britain.
Women’s individual results
Gold: Samantha Murray (GBR) – 1411 points
Silver: Qian Chen (CHN) – 1403 points
Bronze: Liang Wanxia (CHN) – 1384 points
19th: Freyja Prentice (GBR) – 1332 points
26th: Kate French (GBR) – 1303 points
Women’s team results
Gold: China (Qian Chin, Wanxia Liang & Wei Wang) – 4061 points
Silver: Great Britain (Kate French, Samantha Murray & Freyja Prentice) – 4046 points
Bronze: Belarus (Katsiaryna Arol, Anastasiya Prokopenko & Tatsiana Yelizarova) – 4030 points