Brazilian athlete shot in head in Rio

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - A Brazilian competitive shooter was fighting for her life on Friday after being shot in the head during an attempted robbery in Rio de Janeiro, underlining a crime wave sweeping the city two months before the Olympics.

Anna Paula Cotta, 27, a member of Brazil's navy who had tried for the Olympic team but didn't get a spot, was shot on Thursday as she drove her car in northern Rio.

According to Brazilian newspaper reports, she had left home at dawn to help her sick father at the family business when thieves attempted to steal the car.

When she tried to escape they opened fire multiple times and she was hospitalised in serious condition.

"An examination of the site was carried out. Officers are looking for (camera) images and carefully searching the area to gather necessary evidence for the investigation," the civil police force said in a statement.

The attack on Cotta, a pistol specialist who was reported to have been about to participate in a Brazilian championship event this Saturday, followed the armed mugging of members of the Spanish sailing team in Rio last month.

The city is experiencing a surge in violent crime and robberies ahead of the Olympics which open on Aug 5.