Hayder Shkara, in red, will represent Australia at Rio 2016 ©Getty Images

Australia's Hayder Shkara is hoping to use his appearance at next month's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro to help draw attention to work he is doing to help young migrants in the country.

Shkara, a Sydney lawyer by day at Russell Byrnes Solicitors, has co-founded a youth charity in the city.

The Youth Centre focuses on helping disadvantaged children by providing a range of services, including tutoring, sports counselling and spiritual guidance.

"Primarily we were working with refugees, migrants, people that had just come to the country," Shkara, whose father is from Iraq and whose mother is Japanese, said.

"[They were a] bit more disadvantaged, maybe falling a bit behind in schools."

Hayder Shkara is a lawyer by profession ©Russell Byrnes Solicitors
Hayder Shkara is a lawyer by profession ©Russell Byrnes Solicitors

It is involved in the Federal Government's initiative to prevent violent extremism in Australia.

"A few years ago we received a Federal grant for about AUD$100,000 (£57,000/$76,000/€69,000) in order to target violent extremism in youth," he said.

"So we used that money to go into high schools and we did a programme where youth were able to channel their energy [and] maybe some of their frustrations into more positive means."

Australian coach Ali Khalil claimed Shkara had become a role model both in the taekwondo arena and to the children he helped.

"I think for a personality, an athlete like Hayder to engage with the youth in the community is super important," Khalil said.

"I think it's important for the community, such as the Middle Eastern community, to see Hayder and look and think these things can be achieved in Australia.

"Australia is the land of opportunity and it does give all walks of life the opportunity to become a lawyer, to become an Olympian.

"I think if he can continue doing that for the rest of his life, I think it'll be one of the most important things he does."

Hayder Shkara took up taekwondo as a youngster and worked hard every day ©Hayder Shkara
Hayder Shkara took up taekwondo as a youngster and worked hard every day ©Hayder Shkara

Shkara won the under 80 kilograms division at the Oceania Olympic Qualification Tournament against New Zealand’s Vaughn Scott in Port Moresby in February.

Four years ago, Scott had defeated Shkara to get the one Oceania place in the event for London 2012. 

Shkara was a part of Australia’s successful 2015 Pacific Games taekwondo team in Port Moresby that took home nine gold and four silver medals. 

Shkara won his division at the event with the gold medal match again against Scott.

Shkara said he was not particularly good at sport as a child but fell in love with taekwondo.

"I actually was not gifted at any sport," he said. 

"I was not coordinated at all, so I just kind of stuck to one sport and stuck to it everyday and was like, 'I'm just going to get good at it', and I just enjoyed fighting.'"

Shkara plans to devote even more time to his charity work after Rio 2016. 

"After Rio, with a lot of my time being freed up, I'm hoping to get back into the community and do a lot more work and to show the community that you can achieve different things despite your background and despite the disadvantages you may have had," he said.