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Ivica Pavlinic sets sights on Rio Olympics

Sunday 30 Dec 2012 5:26 p.m.

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One of New Zealand’s top judokas has his sights set on Rio 2016, against all odds.

Almost two years ago Ivica Pavlinic was severely beaten in a random attack while heading home from a night out in Hamilton.

Now, after 14 months of recovery he is back chasing his Olympic dream.

“To be honest I don't know what life is like without judo,” he says.

Pavlinic found out the hard way what life was like without judo.

In January 2011, Pavlinic and a friend were attacked as they returned to their car.

“I woke up in hospital and remember being told ‘don't move’,” he says. “I spent a few days in hospital and took about two weeks until I could walk normally again and for a good six months I’d get headaches at random times.”

Pavlinic suffered a brain haemorrhage and a fractured skull, and it was 14 months before he was cleared to return to the sport he loves.

“It was a really hard time,” he says.  “I was depressed and stuff like that, but you can always look at the positives, always improvements that you can do”

His Olympic dream is now alive again too.

The 24-year-old's injuries meant he missed his chance to qualify for London, so he now has his sights set on Rio.

And to help him achieve that goal, Pavlinic is one of six athletes from Oceania to be chosen for a four year training scholarship in the judo stronghold of Uzbekistan.

And with his intense desire to succeed after everything he's been through, you can be sure he will make the most of his shot at Olympic glory.

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