By Mike Rowbottom

Samantha Murray__April_22April 21 - Britain's Samantha Murray (pictured left) collected the first Modern Pentathlon World Cup medal of her career when she took bronze in Rostov, Russia, in a competition won by Anastasiya Prokopenko of Belarus with a final surge over the last kilometre of the shoot/run element.

"It is a great performance," said Murray.

"My first World Cup medal.

"My running is normally better but today I didn't have it in my legs."

Prokopenko, who had entered the shoot/run in 11th place, was delighted with the way she came through.

"Today my back is sore but my passion got me through," she said.

"My shooting has been good in training and I really believed in it today.

"I am very happy."

Silver went to current World Champion Victoria Tereshuk (pictured below) of Ukraine, who overhauled Murray on the final lap of the run.

Tereshuk's training has been hampered by a foot injury which has meant she has not been able to put the shooting and running together away from competition.

And ominously for her rivals, she said after finishing that she believed she would be in even better form at the upcoming World Championships.

Murray, who was fourth in Hungary a week ago, acknowledged that having two such fast runners chasing her down could have affected her shooting: "When I was shooting that was on my mind."

Victoria Tereshuk_April_22
Murray is among those athletes facing a tough battle against her own team mates to secure a spot at the London 2012 Olympics.

A maximum of two places is on offer for each nation and today Britain had three finishers in the first 11.

Despite her medal today, Murray still feels she has it all to do.

"I don't think this changes it a lot," she said.

"It is all still to play for."

Murray, a French and Politics student at the University of Bath, went into the run/shoot in first place with a five second lead over compatriot Katy Burke in second, with team mate Heather Fell starting in seventh.  

Murray held on to her lead until the final run, but then Prokopenko came through.

Prokopenko finished with 5392 points, 40 ahead of Tereshuk, with Murray totalling 5344.

Murray becomes the second British woman to medal on the World Cup circuit this season, following Mhairi Spence's (pictured below) silver in Charlotte, the United States, in the opening World Cup of the year last month.

Beijing 2008 silver medalist Fell produced a strong sprint finish to edge Poland's Katarzyna Wojcik out of seventh place, while Burke finished just outside the top 10 in 11th place, her best World Cup result of the season.

Jan Bartu, Pentathlon GB performance director of the GB programme, which has been supported by National Lottery funding since 1997, said: "Samantha had a very balanced day.

Mhairi Spence_April_22
She was leading a World Cup for the first time in her life going into the run/shoot with some strong athletes behind her, so it was good for us to see how she handled the situation.

"She did really well under the circumstances and went on to win the first big medal of her career.

"She has demonstrated consistency at a high level."

The World Cup in Rostov is the final opportunity for GB athletes to impress ahead of selections for the World Championships in Rome at the beginning of May, which is the next chance for athletes to achieve the Olympic qualifying standard. 

It is also an opportunity to try to qualify for the World Cup Final in China later in May.

A crowd of several thousand came along to Rostov's hippodrome for this the first World Cup event the city has hosted.

While there were no Russian medals to celebrate today, UIPM (Union International de Pentathlon Moderne) President Dr Klaus Schormann, felt the local fans had done themselves proud.

He said: "Bringing the World Cup to Rostov is a fitting tribute to the great history of this city where our sport is really welcomed and, of course, to one of our most fabulous athletes, Andrei Moiseev [Russian pentathlete who won golds in the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics].

"As we can see by the big audience," he continued.

"People in Rostov see the World Cup as a real highlight for their city.

"They know sport and they love sport and they have shown excellent and respectful support for all the athletes, not just the Russians.

"I see exciting possibilities for our sport and this city in the future."

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