Modern pentathlete Oliver Murray inspired by sister Samantha

Gold medallist Oliver Murray reacts after crossing the finish line to win the men's combined run/shoot discipline in Bath (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Gold medallist Oliver Murray reacts after crossing the finish line to win the men's combined run/shoot discipline in Bath (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Clitheroe’s Oliver Murray admitted he had not expected to win gold in the men’s relay at the 2019 European Modern Pentathlon Championships at the University of Bath last week.

Murray – at 20, the youngest member of the British team – helped fellow Bath student Myles Pillage win gold on his senior Pentathlon GB debut.

The pair claimed gold fresh off the back of relay medals at both 2019 Junior European and Junior World Championships.

But Murray thought any chance had gone after their performance in the fencing hall. He said: “It was fantastic, in my first senior competition, I wanted to go there and do well, but didn’t expect to win, and not the way we did.

“We had a terrible start to the day and thought we were out of it, but we’d spoken before, saying to keep giving everything and keep working hard even if things weren’t working out for us, and we swam and ran as hard as we could, and it seemed to go our way.”

Murray took over from Pillage in the laser run, and went hell for leather, unsure of what position he was in.

“My legs were burning, and I was exhausted, but I managed to hold on,” he said. The former Bowland High School pupil has followed a similar path to the Pentathlon GB set up as sister Samantha, training with the Ribble Valley Modern Pentathlon Club, Clitheroe Dolphins, Burnley Bobcats and Blackburn Harriers, before being scouted and selected for a Pentathlon GB Talent Identification Camp. Still only a junior, any outside hopes of a place at Tokyo 2020 have already been dashed, with Joe Choong and Jamie Cooke already claiming Britain’s automatic qualifying spots.

But he is relaxed about the future amid some world-class opposition as teammates, as he looks to emulate his sister and compete at the Olympics, where Samantha won silver in 2012 in London. That was a defining moment for Oliver, who will now compete in the relay at the World Championships in Budapest at the start of next month.

He said: “Sam was my inspiration. After London, my heart was set.

“The two qualifying spots have gone for Tokyo, and while it’s great training with world-class athletes like Joe and Jamie, it’s hard when there are only two spots.

“But it’s not something I’m worried about, I just want to get some good experience and I’ll still be fairly young when Paris 2024 comes around.”