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Shkara shifts down and shapes up

16 June 2017

TAEKWONDO: With the experience of the Rio 2016 Games under his belt and a drop in weight divisions Hayder Shkara looks set for his best World Championships to date.

Having fought in the -80kg class in Rio, Shkara has dropped to -74kg and has been preparing strongly in his new found weight division.  

“World Championships preparations have been great,” the Sydney-sider said.  

“We are feeding a lot off our preparation from Rio. We’ve got the experience that we’ve had from Rio and we’re feeding off that to get the best results possible from the World Championships.

“Rio was hard for me as I was the shortest fighter and the lightest fighter so I’m hoping to have more of an even playing field now that I’ve dropped down.”

Another advantage for Shkara will be the changes to the scoring system that the international federation has introduced which will likely suit his style of fighting.

“Body shots are now worth two points instead of one and head shots remain at three points.

“As such it means they are valuing the body shots a little more which is great for me as I am generally one of the shorter fighters.”

Having won the selection trial to secure his place on the Australian Team for the event in Korea he recently headed to New Zealand to get some more tough fights under his belt against international competition.

“There was a great level of fighters at the event. I had three fights – the first against an Australian, the second against a fighter from the Italian national team and then against a fellow Olympian from Chinese Taipei.

“I narrowly lost the final 3-2 in the last round but the competition was definitely a good hit out.”

Shkara’s fate could come down to the luck of the draw with the 27-year-old set to be unseeded as this is not his usual weight division.

“I would like to get at least a few rounds in and if I went down then I’d like that to be to one of the medallists.

“There is potential I could fight one of the medallists in one of the early rounds which would no doubt be tough.”

A practicing solicitor, Shkara is keen to see how he goes at such a major event while balancing significant work and training commitments.

“I’m at a stage where I’m trying to progress my career and as a self-practitioner I have the ability to be a bit more flexible.

“The preparation and actual Word Championships will be a good gauge for how I can balance the two and will help me decide if I want to go on to Tokyo.”

The Taekwondo World Championships run from June 22-30 in Muju, South Korea.

Australia will be sending a team of eight male and eight female athletes.

Matt Bartolo

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