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Gold medal favourite Jessa Khan disqualified

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Ju-Jitsu star Jessa Khan was flag-bearer for the Cambodia team during the opening ceremony of the 31st SEA Games in Hanoi on May 12. CAMSOC

Gold medal favourite Jessa Khan disqualified

The National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) expressed regret and sadness after gold medal hopeful Jessa Khan was disqualified during her official weigh-in. She will be unable to compete in the Women’s Ju-Jitsu competition at the 31st SEA Games in Hanoi.

According to the NOCC’s May 14 press statement, during the official weigh-in for the 48kg class, Jessa was a mere 240g over the weight limit. Under the rules of the Ju-Jitsu International Federation and the SEA Games Sports Technical Handbook, she is not allowed to compete in the competition.

“The National Olympic Committee and mission director regret to inform the public that Jessa Khan will not be able to compete in the Women’s Jujitsu competition, which begins today [May 14],” it said.

The 20 year-old Cambodian-American Ju-Jitsu star is considered one of the best athletes in the sport and was flag-bearer for the Cambodian team during the May 12 opening ceremony of the games.

The NOCC lodged a formal appeal with the event’s organising committee immediately after the weigh-in, asking that she be allowed to compete in the higher weight class of 62kg. The appeal was denied.

Minister of Tourism Thong Khon, who is also president of the NOCC and head of the Cambodian delegation to the SEA Games, expressed disappointment with the committee’s decision, but said he would respect their authority.

“Regardless of the outcome, we must always support and encourage the athletes’ dreams of bringing glory to the Kingdom of Cambodia,” he said.

The NOCC president humbly requested fellow Cambodians to be sympathetic and understanding of the news. The NOCC said in the same statement that Jessa was extremely disappointed with the outcome as she was ready to deliver gold for Cambodia. A gold medalist at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and at the 2019 SEA Games in Manila, Jessa was considered the hot favourite to win gold in the event.

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