All eyes in China on Olympic place points

Samantha Murray

Samantha Murray

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CLITHEROE’S Samantha Murray is in action as the competition for places on the Great Britain modern pentathlon teams for the first Olympic qualification events intensifies this weekend at World Cup 4 in China.

Samantha is one of four British women and three men competing in Chengdu – the last opportunity to score valuable qualification points to try to make the team for the World Cup Final in London in July.

The winner of the World Cup Final in London achieves a quota place for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Chengdu is also an opportunity for Britain’s pentathletes to improve their national rankings to try to make the team for the European Championships, taking place in Medway in Kent from July 28th to August 1st.

The top eight finishers in both the men’s and women’s competitions at the championships also achieve London 2012 quota places.

The GB women’s team for Chengdu includes Beijing 2008 Olympic Games silver medallist Heather Fell and current world junior number one Freyja Prentice.

Prentice already has a World Cup medal under her belt this season after winning bronze in Italy last month, and is 11th in the current World Cup standings.

Fell is 17th in the 2011 World Cup standings.

The pair are joined in Chengdu by Katy Burke, currently 14th in the World Cup standings, and by Murray, who is 37th.

Mhairi Spence, who has already won two World Cup medals this year and is second in the 2011 World Cup standings, sits out Chengdu.

The first six men’s and women’s qualification spots for the London 2012 Olympic Games were decided at the Asian/Oceanic Championships, also in Chengdu, earlier this month, but the World Cup Final and the European Championships will be the first opportunities for British pentathletes to achieve quota places.

A maximum of two men and two women per country can compete in the modern pentathlon at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The British team for London 2012 will be selected by the British Olympic Association.

In Chengdu, the women’s qualification competition is today, with the individual final on Saturday.