Murray aiming to rise to the occasion

Samantha Murray

Samantha Murray

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Samantha Murray is hoping her big-time temperament will help her rise to the occasion this week when she competes against the world’s best.

The Preston-born modern pentathlon star competes in the World Championships which are being staged in Moscow.

A huge event in its own right, this year’s competition carries extra significance with places for this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero up for grabs.

Although Murray has already secured the qualifying standard for Brazil, there is still a chance she may get overlooked for selection.

There are only two places available in the GB squad for Rio and Murray is competing for one of those slots alongside Kate French, Freyja Prentice and Joanna Muir.

And if two of her team-mates finish inside the top three, they will automatically qualify for the Olympics.

Having won silver at the London Games four years ago and then gold at the World Championships two years ago, 26-year-old Murray is hotly-tipped to secure a place on the plane to South America.

However, she has arrived in Moscow with a few question marks hanging over her form and fitness.

A slight shoulder tendon strain has troubled her, while illness has also hindered her progress this year.

Her best performance in competition came in Hungary where she finished ninth – well outside a medal placing.

Despite a few setbacks this year, Murray believes she can find her best in Moscow.

“I am probably going into the World Championships this week not in the best form of my life, but I would say I am in good competition shape,” said Murray, who is currently ranked 13th in the world.

“The worlds are always an important event, but it’s a really important competition this week in terms of qualification for the Olympic Games.

“I really want to do well and I am really excited – competitions like this is what I train for.

“Everything is in the right place where it should be. I have had good training blocks and hopefully I can perform well.”

With such a fine pedigree, Murray always heads into major competitions expecting to be in contention for a medal, although she knows she will face some stiff competition this week.

“I always aim for the podium – a medal is what I want,” she said. “But there’s a lot of strong competition. Some of the really experienced athletes have got great form heading into this week.

“Lena Schöneborn – the Olympic champion from Beijing is showing really strong form. The Olympic champion Laura Asadauskait from four years is also performing really well.

“There’s a lot of depth and lot of ex-world champions in the world’s top 10.”

Murray warmed-up for the indvidual event by claiming a silver medal in the relay competition yesterday.

The former Bowland High School pupil teamed up with Muir to seal second place.