Murray overcomes demons

Samantha Murray insists overcoming her mental demons was the key to realising the dream of earning her Team GB Olympic selection.


Murray all but confirmed her place at the Games last month with a bronze medal behind team-mate and gold medallist Mhairi Spence at the modern pentathlon World Championships in Rome.

In doing so, the 22-year-old saw off stiff competition from Beijing silver medalist Heather Fell and Freyja Prentice, who also reached the Olympic qualifying standard, for one of the two available slots on the team.

But Murray is adamant none of this would have been possible were it not for the work she did with a sports psychologist at the Pentathlon GB base at the University of Bath.

“I had a bit of trouble last season, and at times I just wanted to quit and walk away,” she admitted.

“I’d been away in France for six months with my degree, and when I came back the girls were really strong.

“I had a bad time. I was in a bit of a bad relationship and I just think things like that filter into your performance.

“I was depressed. This is my life and my job, and no one wants to be crap at what they’re doing. But I realised I couldn’t afford to be feeble and run away from the challenge.

“I decided that even though I might fail and feel rubbish for ages afterwards, I just had to work really hard and see what I might achieve.

"I’m quite young and I think I was quite immature. I am quite an individual person, but I had to realise that maybe I couldn’t do everything on my own, and that maybe I needed some support.

"At Olympic level, you have to train the mind as well as the body, and that was what was missing last year."

Having reaped the rewards, Murray feels the struggles of the past 12 months have made her a stronger person and athlete.

Solid performances at World Cup level and a World Championship bronze brings with it a certain degree of expectation with London 2012 looming ever closer, but Murray insists she is relishing the chance.

“I’ve had to overcome a lot to get on the team,” she added.

“I think Mhairi and myself are very strong athletes because of what we’ve had to do to get here and who we’ve had to hold off.

“What Heather did in Beijing was great, but when you train with someone every day, you realise there’s no reason why you can’t do the same.

“Being young has its advantages. I know what it is to feel daunted at something big coming up, but I see this as a big opportunity to change my life.

“I have nothing to lose, and I have every confidence in myself.”

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