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Shkara downed on Olympic debut

19 August 2016

TAEKWONDO: Hayder Shkara has gone down to Great British fighter Lutalo Muhammed in his first round fight of the -80kg division.

Making his Olympic debut, the Sydney-sider lost 14-0 to the London 2012 bronze medallist with the match ended after the second round when the Brit built a big enough points gap that the fight was ended.

Shkara will now have to wait to see if Muhammed makes it through to the gold medal match to know if he is entered into the repechage where he will be a chance to win bronze.

“I’m absolutely gutted,” the 26-year-old said.

“I felt good it’s just I didn’t follow the game plan, I played to his game and it wasn’t a good performance by me.”

Shkara hit the mat with plenty of energy but Muhammed caught him with an early head kick to take the early advantage.

He continued to attack and a body kick, a punch and then another head kick saw the British fighter extend his lead out to 8-0 at the end of the first two minute round.

Shkara looked better in the second round with both fighters not scoring a point in the opening sixty seconds before Muhammed struck again.

A head kick followed by a spinning body kick secured another six points, and having built a lead of at least 12 points at the end of the round, Muhammed took the fight 14-0 at the end of the second round.

“He is very flexible and his head kicks are very accurate.

“He went over the top and it’s something that I’m not used to at all as he is such a tall opponent. I just couldn’t keep up.”

Shkara will now wait to see if Muhammed gets to the gold medal fight to see if he gets the opportunity to fight for bronze.

“He has a couple of tough fights. He has to beat Steven Lopez (USA) who is a two-time Olympic gold medallist (2000, 2004) and then he has to get through one of the two favourites from either Iran or Azebaijan so he is going to have a tough run himself.”

Muhammed will face Lopez at 3:15pm (4:15am Saturday AEST) and then if successful his semi-final would be at 5:15pm (6:15am Saturday AEST). If the Brit is successful Shkara will need to win two fights to win bronze with the first of those being at 8pm (9am Saturday AEST).

Matt Bartolo

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