Murray's joy as modern pentathlon beats axe

SAMANTHA Murray says she is ‘elated and relieved’ after modern pentathlon survived being dropped for the 2020 Olympic Games.

The International Olympic Committee opted to omit wrestling ahead of modern pentathlon and taekwondo and will now decide which sport will replace it.

The IOC will decide on one of seven sports that include squash, climbing and wakeboarding – although wrestling could yet get a reprieve.

But Murray, who won a memorable silver medal at London 2012, is delighted her sport will remain in the Games.

“I am just elated and so happy,” said Murray, from Clitheroe. “I was very emotional the evening before because it made me realise how much I loved the sport I compete in and how lucky I am to take part in such a sport.

“So I am just relieved. Modern Pentathlon is a wonderful sport and it encapsulates what the Olympic Games is all about. I’m happy the IOC have made this decision.”

But Murray says modern pentathlon’s joy is wrestling’s sorrow – and admitted there were other sports that she felt should not be included in the Games.

“This is a very sad day for wrestling and I feel so sorry for everyone involved in the sport,” said the former Bowland High School.

“In my opinion, there are some sports that should not be included but it can all be very political to include these so called ‘power sports.’ “What you have to remember is that when you bring in one of the big mainstream sports, such as golf or rugby, it is one of the smaller niche sports that define what the Games are all about that sadly have to miss out.”

Murray said it is unlikely she will still be competing in 2020 but added the decision was vital for the future of the sport.

She said: “From a personal point of view, I don’t know what I will be doing in 2020 as all my focus will be on Rio 2016. But from a legacy point of view, it was important modern pentathlon remained in the Games. It will encourage more and more youngsters to take up the sport.”

Murray, 23, is currently in Qatar where she is an ambassador for the Dolphin Energy Doha Dash – a 5k race she took part in yesterday as part of the national sports day.

She plans to return to action next month in Italy before competing in the third round of the World Cup in China in April.

“I’m heading off to Rome for two weeks of intense training and I’ll see how much I have lost,” said Murray who is studying French and Politics at Bath University. “The plan is to compete in an event in Italy then go to Chengdu in China for the third round of the World Cup.

“I’m just looking forward to competing again.”

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