Murray claims silver at Champion of Champions
Samantha Murray finished the 2016 modern pentathlon season on a high as she claimed a silver medal at the Champion of Champions in Doha on Saturday. Pentathlon GB teammate Jo Muir also enjoyed a strong day, finishing 8th, whilst Jamie Cooke rounded off a successful season with a 4th place finish in the men’s event.
Sam was naturally delighted with her performance and commented “I want to keep in this moment that I am having now. I will keep training hard for the next season and try to improve my abilities, especially in Fencing and Shooting and stay happy.
“I have a great team around me and I am already looking forward to the 2017 World Cup #1 in Los Angeles.”
In her first appearance at the event, Sam was also impressed with the facilities, stating “Doha is a great venue for Modern Pentathlon with top-class facilities, and I’d love to see a World Cup or World Championships come here in the future.”
The women’s competition started in the pool where Sam’s 2:19.38 was 5th quickest with Jo 10th fastest in 2:25.30. Both Brits then excelled in the fencing salle with Sam topping the discipline standings on 18 victories and 10 defeats and Jo 6th with a level fence of 14 victories, 14 defeats. This saw Sam take the lead of the competition after two disciplines with Jo 8th, in the middle of tightly bunched pack as just 28 points separated Sehee Kim in 3rd and Samantha Achterberg in 12th.
The ride started to string out the field with 4 competitors suffering eliminations. However, this fate didn’t befall either Brit with Clitheroe’s Sam suffering just 5 time faults to pick up 295 points and Dunfriess’ Jo securing 279 points after knocking down 3 poles.
This meant 27 year-old Sam started the combined event 1st with a 13 second lead over 2016 World Champion Sarolta Kovacs with 22 year-old Jo starting the run-shoot 7th, 64 seconds behind her teammate.
A thrilling combined event followed with the lead exchanging hands numerous times over the 3200m course. Sam, Kovacs, and Sehee Kim all held the lead during the first 3 laps with Kim heading the field out of the final shoot. However, it was Germany’s defending champion Annika Schleu who eventually claimed gold, working her way up from 8th to overtake Kim in the final 800m. Sam also had enough stamina to overtake the Korean for silver with Kim settling for bronze.
Jo produced a strong combined event, the 6th best of the day, to finish 8th in her debut at the event and round off a promising 2016 season which saw her finish 5th at the European Championships.
In the men’s event, Jamie wasn’t able to match his Olympic record in the pool but his time of 2:03.85 was still the quickest of the competition. The 25 year-old also produced a strong fence – 20 victories and 16 defeats – meaning he was in 2nd place after the opening two disciplines, just 2 points behind Egypt’s Yasser Hefny.
Salisbury born Jamie knocked down 2 poles in the ride to pick up 286 points, enough to move him into the lead when Hefny knocked down a third during his round. It meant the Brit had a single second lead over Belarus’ Mikalai Hayanouski with Hefny a further 4 seconds back in 3rd at the start of the combined event.
However, the majority of the field were within striking range with the USA’s Nathan Schrimsher starting the run-shoot in 11th but just 30 seconds behind Jamie.
Another exciting combined event ensued in the Qatari capital with Patrick Dogue eventually prevailing to make it a double success for Germany. 2016 World Champion Valentin Belaud claimed silver with Hungary’s Robert Kasza securing bronze meaning Jamie just missed out on a place on the podium in the 2016 season finale.
The trio of Sam, Jo and Jamie will now continue with their winter training at Pentathlon GB’s National Training Centre at the University of Bath.
Photo credit: Samantha Murray