University of Bath student and Olympic silver medallist Samantha Murray was named winner of the British Modern Pentathlon Olympic Athlete of the Year Award.
Murray was presented with the award at a Pentathlon GB dinner in Bath last night (Wednesday) at the end of a stunning year that saw her capture her first World Cup medal, as well as medals at both the World Championships and the Olympics.
The climax to her year came on Sunday 12 August when Murray crossed the finish line in second place behind Lithuania’s Laura Asadauskaite at Greenwich Park to take the Olympic silver medal. It was Britain’s 65th and last medal of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Murray, who has combined training and competing with studying for a degree in French and Politics at the University of Bath, ends the year at number three in the senior world rankings and she topped the 2012 World Cup rankings. That was a meteoric rise from the 78th place in the rankings in February.
Murray just missed out on her first World Cup medal in Hungary in April, finishing fourth, but won bronze a week later in the 4th World Cup of the year in Russia.
She followed that up with bronze at the 2012 World Championships in Rome – an event that saw team-mate Mhairi Spence crowned the World Champion.
And then came that epic day in London in August, as Murray followed in the footsteps of Steph Cook, Kate Allenby, Georgina Harland and Heather Fell to become the fifth British woman to win an Olympic Modern Pentathlon medal.
Murray received the Athlete of the Year trophy, provided by the British Olympic Association.
A range of other prizes were presented to athletes at last night’s awards.
Mhairi Spence, Britain’s 2012 World Champion, received the inaugural Outstanding Performance of the Year Award. That was awarded for her success in becoming Britain’s first individual modern pentathlon World Champion since Steph Cook in 2001. Spence is a University of Bath Coach Education and Sports Development graduate.
And Thomas Toolis, a University Sport and Exercise Science student, received the Newcomer of the Year Award for making the biggest improvement in his first year training at the Pentathlon GB National Training Centre. The Newcomer of the Year trophy was donated by Athens 2004 Olympic bronze medallist Georgina Harland.
Heather Fell received the European Championships award after finishing sixth at this year’s championships.
Jan Bartu, Pentathlon GB Performance Director, said: “If you take the men’s and the women’s results, it’s probably fair to say we haven’t had a better year as a team. We had a strong year in 2001, but that was only from the girls.
“As a step in the evolution of the programme, we have reached another milestone in 2012,” he added. “It’s something the next generation must aspire to, they’ve been given a hard act to follow.”
He also made a presentation to Katy Livingston to mark her retirement as an athlete. Her career included a seventh place finish at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, an individual bronze medal at the 2008 World Championships, a gold medal at the 2008 World Cup in Egypt and a silver in Russia in 2007.
She also contributed to many team medals, including team relay gold at the 2007 World Championships, a team silver at the 2006 World Championships and a team relay bronze at the 2012 World Championships.
Bartu said: “Katy started from scratch and became a member of the family here. She was a good, reliable team member and a pleasure to have around. We’d like to wish her the best of luck for the future.”
Bartu also made a presentation to Dominic Mahony, who has been the Team Manager from 1998 contributing to the team success in four consecutive Olympic cycles, and thanked Jon Austin, Chief Executive of Pentathlon GB, the Performance team, English Institute of Sport staff and Pentathlon GB office staff for their support during the year.
Pentathlon GB’s High Performance Centre is based at the University of Bath.