Clitheroe's Murray ninth in Rio

Clitheroe's Samantha Murray produced a battling performance to finish ninth at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro at the end of two gruelling days of modern pentathlon action.
Samantha MurraySamantha Murray
Samantha Murray

The women’s final started on Thursday with the fencing ranking round.

Murray was joint 28th after 14 victories and 21 defeats. She was disappointed with her performance in the opening discipline but knew there was a long way to go and came back with renewed vigour.

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Day two started with the 200m freestyle swim with London 2012 silver medalist Murray fourth quickest in 2:10.81.

The fencing bonus round, making its first appearance in an Olympic Games, proved to be an exhilarating affair on the custom made outside piste with Murray particularly enjoying herself.

The Team GB athlete recorded eight straight victories to pick up an extra eight points towards her total, lifting to her to 14th in the standings after two events.

Many of the early starters struggled on a tough riding course, including defending Olympic champion Laura Asaduaskaite who was eliminated due to four refusals. However, 26 year-old Murray suffered 21 penalty points due to three pole knockdowns, two of which she was very unfortunate to just roll off.

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This meant that Murray was 18th ahead of the combined run-shoot.

Murray showed huge spirit to move up the order, exiting the final of the four shoots in ninth, a position she would hold to the finish to secure a top 10 finish for Team GB.

Murray reflected that: "The fencing was a nightmare and I went home feeling heartbroken. After four years of sacrifice and hard work, I wasn’t myself out there.

“Then I woke up and thought; this is the Olympic Games. I’m not sure if I’m going to be here again so I’ve just got to embrace the atmosphere, soak it up and do myself proud.

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“I went out there and I tried my hardest in all of the events. Again, pentathlon being pentathlon, I had some unlucky poles in the riding that were expensive. I was 2 seconds down on the swimming time I wanted to achieve.

“In the combined, I ran my heart out. I left it all out there. I shot pretty well too considering it’s the Olympic Games so I’m pleased. To finish top 10 is a really steady result. Obviously I said I wanted to win a medal, I wanted to be the first woman to win 2 Olympic medals, but it still hasn’t been done, so maybe there’s a curse on it.

“I’ve just got to be happy with what I’ve achieved and now I’m going to enjoy the rest of the Olympic experience and support my teammates.”