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Shkara goes down in golden score

20 August 2016

TAEKWONDO: Hayder Shkara got his second bite at the cherry but just couldn’t quite get the job in an agonising golden score loss to Stephen Lopez of the USA.

After Lutalo Muhammed moved through to the gold medal final Shkara was given a chance to contest the repechage in a bid to win -80kg bronze.

After the fight ended scoreless after three rounds, the match entered the final two-minute period.

Both fighters went hard but neither could still register a point. It was Lopez, a two-time Olympic gold medallist, who would progress though after he had more non-scoring hits connect 4-2.

“It was a rollercoaster of a day,” Shkara said.

“I lost the first fight and got humiliated and after that I went back to the Village. I didn’t think Mohammed would get through and get me back in but he did and I thank him for that.

“I was blessed enough to get another chance to perform and show everyone what I can actually do and this time I didn’t hold back. It really could have gone either way and it was disappointing it didn’t go my way.”

After Lopez attacked early both fighters were cautious picking their moments to attack but just couldn’t score any points.

The American came closest when he put in a video challenge on a kick to Shkara’s head which didn’t score but on review it was unsuccessful.

Nearing the end of the sudden death Skkara went in all-out attack mode.

“I knew I was down on the registers so I had to go in with a whirlwind and go for a Hail Mary.

“I think I was close a few times but I just didn’t hit the mark.”

Now his Rio 2016 campaign is over, the 26-year-old is looking forward to spending time with those that have helped get him to his debut Olympic Games.

“I’m happy I could put in a good performance in for my family in the stands.

"They’ve been supporting me the whole time. One of my cousins came from Iraq, my family from Australia and my brother from Germany. They all united here in Rio to cheer me on and I just want to give them a big hug.”

The result draws to a close Australia’s Rio 2016 taekwondo campaign. On Wednesday Safwan Khalil finished seventh, on Thursday Caroline Marton went down the opening round as her sister Carmen did earlier on Friday.

Matt Bartolo

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