By Mike Rowbottom

Samantha Murray_head_and_shouldersMarch 25 - Britain's Samantha Murray (pictured), who impressed with sixth place in the first modern pentathlon World Cup of the year in Charlottehas been selected for both of the final two World Cups of the year in Hungary and Russia along with Katy Burke (pictured below), who will be making her debut in this season's event after recovering from injury.

The results from this year's World Cups will be used to decide the British team for the World Championships in Rome in May, which is the next opportunity for athletes to achieve the Olympic qualifying standard.

With six British women currently featuring in the top 35 in the world and only four able to compete at the World Championships, the competition for places in Rome will be intense.

A maximum of two athletes per gender per nation can compete in the modern pentathlon at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Mhairi Spence, who won silver in Charlotte and is the highest ranked British female in the world rankings at number five, also competes in Szazhalombatta, Hungary, from April 12 until 15.

The final member of the women's team is Freyja Prentice.

Katy Burke_March_23
For the final World Cup in Rostov, Russia, from April 19 until 22, Beijing silver medallist Heather Fell, currently world ranked number nine, and fellow Beijing Olympian Katy Livingston join the quartet.

Competition is also intense for men's places at the Games, with three British men in the top 25 in the world.

The trio of world junior champion Jamie Cooke (pictured below), Sam Weale and Nick Woodbridge are due to compete at both World Cups and are joined by Steven Mason in Hungary.

Woodbridge produced two consistent performances in the World Cups in Charlotte and Rio, finishing sixth on both occasions, with fellow Beijing 2008 Olympian Weale coming seventh in Rio.

GB performance director Jan Bartu said Britain's pentathletes now have to give maximum effort to secure places at the World Championships.

"Once they get to the World Cups they need to go flat out," he said.

"That's how it is at this point, there's no hiding place."

james-cooke-March 23
So far Cooke, the world number 16, and Prentice, ranked 18th, have achieved the London 2012 qualifying standard, although neither are guaranteed places on the team.

As well as trying to qualify places on the World Championship team, athletes will also be eager to score points at World Cups to boost their positions in the World Cup Series rankings.

The top 36 men and women – up to a maximum of three athletes per nation – will be invited to compete at the World Cup Final at Chengdu in China at the end of May.

That will be the last opportunity to score world ranking points.

The final Olympic qualifying places will be distributed according to positions on the world ranking list as of June 1.

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