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Sport Haugh of Urr's Jo Muir shares her path to the Olympics in Galloway People

11:36  15 october  2021
11:36  15 october  2021 Source:   dailyrecord.co.uk

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" Haugh of Urr pentathlete Jo Muir offers an insight into her bid to make the 2020 Tokyo Olympics ". ^ "Dumfries and Galloway athlete Jo Muir chosen to represent Team GB at Tokyo Olympics ". ^ " Haugh of Urr ' s Jo Muir set to fulfil childhood dream by taking part in Olympic Games".

Jo Muir will fulfil a childhood dream this week when she takes part in the Olympic Games. The former Castle Douglas High School pupil is representing Team GB in the modern pentathlon, which takes place today and tomorrow in Japan. And she knows she is following in the footsteps of legends, having Muir is just the latest competitor from the Stewartry to compete at such a high level in the last decade. Castle Douglas mountainbiker Gareth Montgomery and Haugh of Urr shot putter Kirsty Yates both took part in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014. And four years later Castle Douglas shooter

She’s determined to have one more shot at Olympic glory – then switch course in life towards a career and starting a family.

For more than a decade, Jo Muir has sacrificed much to become one of the globe’s top performers in the modern pentathlon.

Ranked sixth in the world ahead of this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, the Haugh of Urr star flew out to Japan with high hopes of claiming a medal.

Sadly it was not to be – and now the 27-year-old is setting her sights on Paris 2024 for what almost certainly will be her final tilt at the Olympics.

Currently living in Bath, the home of Pentathlon GB’s National Training Centre, Jo has taken a couple of months out since Japan to rest before getting back on the treadmill of training for European and world championship events.

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Dumfries and Galloway ' s Jo Muir missed out on an Olympic medal Credit: Press Association. Great Britain claimed gold in the women' s modern pentathlon but Dumfries and Galloway ' s Jo Muir missed out on a medal. Competing in her first Olympic Games the 26-year-old from Haugh of Urr near Castle Douglas finished fourteenth with fellow Brit Kate French taking the title.

Haugh of Urr (/hɒx ɜːr/), is a village in the historical county of Kirkcudbrightshire in Dumfries and Galloway , Scotland. It is approximately 4 miles (6 kilometres) NNW of Dalbeattie, 3 mi (5 km) NE of Castle Douglas, 12+1⁄2 mi (20 km) west of Dumfries and. 12+1⁄2 mi (20 km) east of Kirkcudbright.

Part of her success to date she attributes to boyfriend Ollie, with whom she has been with for nearly two years.

The young couple – Ollie is a year older, Jo tells me – have much in common and in true accord with the digital age met through a dating app.

“Ollie loves sport and plays rugby but he’s not a full-time athlete like me,” says Jo.

“That’s probably a good thing – he definitely keeps me well balanced I would say.

“Leading up to the Tokyo games it was a very stressful time made even more stressful because of Covid.

“I was quite a nightmare to live with but Ollie helped me stay calm.

“He’s been great and really helped me get through the past year.”

It turns out that Jo and Ollie both grew up in the countryside with the great outdoors for company.

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Halmyre Urr Ayrshires, Haugh of Urr . 2 165 tykkäystä · 11 oli täällä. Halmyre Urr Ayrshires are milked twice a day to produce creamy milk which is sold We're interested to hear if anyone knows of anyone younger having walked the tanbark. . . . share your pics in the comments. Following her is 1st prize Junior cow and champion from The Muir . Behind her comes Halmyre Urr ' s 2nd Junior cow.

Viimeisimmät twiitit käyttäjältä George Galloway (@georgegalloway). Straight talking, straight forward. @workerspartyGB @rt_sputnik @kalimalondon @moatsTV @InQuestionRT @theblairdoc @alliance4unity | Mail info@georgegalloway.com. George Galloway . Varmennettu tili. @georgegalloway.

“Ollie’s from Callington in Cornwall,” says Jo. “It’s quite similar to Castle Douglas. It’s also very rural – it’s not one of the coastal towns and there’s lots of farms around – so we have similar memories from growing up in that kind of place.

“We actually met up via a dating app. He was living in Bristol and I was in Bath so it was only ten minutes away by train.

“We started speaking in December 2019 and he asked me on a date.

“But I had a training camp, then another and after that went home for Christmas.

“Then I forgot to message him in January. We met up and that went really well and that was that. It’s a really good way of meeting people.

“Everybody has this idea that you go out and bump into the love of your life but in reality that does not happen, at least to most people.

“And yeah – he did look better in the flesh than he did on the screen.”

The former Hardgate Primary and Castle Douglas High pupil grew up at Milton Park farm near “The Haugh”, along with brother Cameron and parents Andy and Susan.

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" Haugh of Urr pentathlete Jo Muir offers an insight into her bid to make the 2020 Tokyo Olympics ". ^ " Haugh of Urr ' s Jo Muir claims top 20 finish in World Modern Pentathlon Championships". ^ "Dumfries and Galloway athlete Jo Muir chosen to represent Team GB at Tokyo Olympics ". ^ "Secrets of the Olympic horse-whisperers revealed as Scotland's Joanna Muir joins pentathlon team

Galloway took his mother' s side in arguments,[5] and has been a long-time supporter of Sinn Féin and Irish reunification.[6] David Morley, Galloway ' s biographer, has written that people who knew both father and son have said that they shared similar Marxist opinions, common in the local Labour After a trip to Beirut, Lebanon during 1977, Galloway became a supporter of Palestine, stating during his libel case against The Daily Telegraph in 2004 that "barely a week after my return I made a pledge, in the Tavern Bar in Dundee' s Hawkhill District, to devote the rest of my life to the Palestinian and Arab

“Hardgate was a really nice wee school,” Jo recalls, explaining – not entirely convincingly – that she was “not bad but always getting into trouble”.

“Sometimes mum would have to come in,” she laughs. “I was very hyperactive and did not like to keep still.

“One day the teacher asked us to draw a beautiful peacock. But I must have got bored and decided to colour the whole page in black.

“When the teacher asked what it was I said that’s my peacock at night!”

Jo “loved sport” at school, with swimming, lacrosse and gymnastics among her favourites.

“I was not that great and at 11 I started doing athletics,” she says modestly. “I was honestly just so bad – I was so slow. I joined the middle distance group but my pal was so much quicker than me.

“I felt I did not have a competitive bone in my body but I enjoyed it.

“And by the time I got to 13 or 14 I started to get better.

“I had joined Stewartry Athletics Club and in 2009 competed for the West of Scotland schools team at the London Mini Marathon, which was a three-mile race.

“I came fifth out of 238 runners and was the top west of Scotland competitor.”

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Jo insists she had no outstanding ability – but was gifted with a constant determination to improve.

“What motivated me, and still does, is that I wanted to be better than I had been before,” she says.

“I got obsessed with beating my time from the last time out.

“I felt like I was not naturally talented as a kid, but it was down to having the right attitude and my parents’ encouragement that I got better.

“Mum in particular sacrificed so much of her life to take me all over the country.”

Castle Douglas High also played its part in allowing Jo to pursue her sporting goals.

“It was a great school – by sixth year I was trying to get into the University of Bath and the national training centre for the modern pentathlon.

“The school allowed me to drop a subject so I could do extra training sessions.”

Modern pentathlon comprises fencing, swimming, horse jumping, pistol shooting and cross country running, the latter two events being combined in a biathlon.

Jo’s journey towards becoming one of the world’s best started on four legs, not two.

“I rode from when I was six and joined Stewartry Pony Club,” she says.

“When I was seven I competed at my first Stewartry Show on a little pony called Tilly.

“I was in the show jumping and it was only a little pole on the ground.

“So it became more of a race between the parents who were leading the ponies on the rein.

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“My mum was absolutely flying round with me but went into a corner so sharp that I fell off.

“I was perfectly fine but I’m sure she felt terrible!

“At 11 or 12 through the pony club I got into the tetrathlon – running, swimming, horse riding and shooting - and would go all over the country for competitions,” Jo recalls.

“That’s when I realised how much I loved the multi-sport discipline.

“At the start I was not very good but I remember winning the Scottish championship for my age group at Kirriemuir and being super excited on the way back home.

“It was like a dream in my mind to go to the Olympic Games but I never thought it was possible.

“I would spend so much time at the high school training in the morning before school, go home and ride my pony and then go to athletics, shooting and fencing in the evening.

“I guess I had to sacrifice a lot of things which normal teenagers would do.”

Of the five pentathlon disciplines, Jo took up fencing last – and by pure chance Brian McMeekin at neighbouring farm Ernespie was a top-grade fencer.

“My mum asked Brian if he would be interested in coaching us,” Jo recalls.

“Every week we would go down to the David Keswick Centre in Dumfries to train and Brian would give us fencing lessons.

“I don’t think I’m the most co-ordinated person.

“It’s something I really have to work at because fencing does not come naturally to me.”

Winning the under-15 schools biathlon championships – running and swimming – at the University of Bath was another key moment for Jo.

“Bath where I’m now based is home to the national training centre for pentathlon,” she tells me.

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“Visiting it for the first time was when I really thought I’d love to be a full time athlete and get into uni here and give pentathlon a proper go.

“It had always been my dream to be an athlete and compete at an Olympic Games.

“But visiting such an outstanding place with world class facilities and seeing some of the top athletes in the world in person gave me the belief that one day that could be me.”

Aged 15 Jo qualified for entry into Pentathlon GB’s talent programme and travelled down to Bath every two months.

And after gaining Highers from Castle Douglas High she enrolled in a sports performance degree course at university.

Learning about the physiology of sport helped Jo’s pentathlon performance, as did training with fellow Scot Mhairi Spence, who won the world championships in 2012.

A sixth place in the 2014 European Championships followed – but signs the punishing schedule was taking a toll emerged at a training camp in the French Pyrenees later that year.

“I started getting this pain in my hip,” Jo recalls.

“The physio thought it was just tightness but by the time I got home I was in a lot of pain and got a scan. I saw the doctor the next day and it turned out I had a stress fracture at the head of my femur.

“I had been set to go to the world championships in Mexico but I ended up on crutches for eight weeks. At the time I thought my world was crumbling but in reality it made me stronger and a much more resilient athlete.

“And after six months rehab, I got back into it and won bronze at the indoor championships in Hungary.

“That was huge for me and gave me a lot of encouragement because I knew then that I was back to where I had been and more.”

Jo takes the podium at the World Cup in Cairo in 2020 after winning gold. Photo: © UIPM Jo takes the podium at the World Cup in Cairo in 2020 after winning gold. Photo:

A fifth place at the 2016 European championships in Sofia focused Jo’s mind on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and she kicked open the door to qualification with a fourth place in the 2019 Euros at Bath.

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Kate French – who went on to win gold at Tokyo – was number one choice.

But the second spot was up for grabs and early in 2020 Jo got herself in pole position with gold at a world championship round in Cairo.That was a breakthrough moment for me,” says Jo. “I always believed I had the ability to win but had never quite managed it.

“Then Covid came and because there were no more competitions by the end of 2020 I was top of the Olympic rankings.”

A silver in the 2021 Budapest world cup round, two fourth places and a sixth in the world cup finals in Hungary kept Jo in contention for GB selection – but nothing was guaranteed.

“It was all down to the selectors,” says Jo. “I kept my phone on loud and was actually getting a massage when it rang.

“I could not have got off the bed quicker and it was a very emotional moment when I heard I’d been selected. I was top six in the world coming into the games but I was gutted when I came 14th.

“I struggled in the first event, fencing, and won only 13 of 35 contests.

“Swimming was disappointing too and after two events I was 32nd out of 36 finalists. I just had one pole down in the horse riding which took me up to 21st. Then I came ninth in the running and shooting and moved up to 14th.

Jo with parents Susan and Andy at the Olympic team announcement in Bath. © tomwarry Jo with parents Susan and Andy at the Olympic team announcement in Bath.

“I knew that I had so many people back home cheering for me and I did not want to let them down. I did the best I could in the final few disciplines.”

Jo has just resumed training after her well-deserved break.

“I felt that I needed the two months off to catch up with friends, go on holiday and just be a normal person. I think Ollie was very happy too!

“My next target is Paris 2024. Meantime I would love to win more world cup medals and be world champion – that would be my absolute dream.

“After Paris I will be in my early thirties and by then I want to get my career started and settle down a bit.”

Jo’s clear about where she stands on juggling motherhoodwith elite competition.

“I definitely don’t want to be an athlete and a mum,” she says. “You have to think about these things when you are a woman.”

Badminton stars have coaching stripped as part of post-Olympics row .
EXCLUSIVE BY DAVID COVERDALE: Three Team GB players have been blocked from working with their own national team coaches after criticising the culture of the sport's governing body.Sportsmail understands Tokyo 2020 participants Marcus Ellis, Lauren Smith and Chloe Birch have all had their coaching support withdrawn following a post-Olympics fall-out with Badminton England staff including Nathan Robertson, the Athens 2004 mixed doubles silver medallist.

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