After claiming a gold medal at the 2022 Ju-Jitsu World Championship in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, the Ju-Jitsu Federation of Cambodia suggested that Jessa Khan was a clear favourite to top the tables at the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in the Kingdom next year.
In the 52kg category on November 2, Khan easily defeated her first three opponents, then went on to beat her Spanish opponent in the final on points and take gold.
Prime Minister Hun Sen posted a congratulatory message to Khan immediately after she won the final. Minister of National Defense Tea Banh, who also serves as chairman of the Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC), and Sar Sokha, secretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, also posted congratulatory messages to her.
Seng Bunsong, president of the Ju-Jitsu federation, described the victory as adding another level of confidence to the Cambodian Ju-Jitsu team’s goal of winning a gold medal at the 2023 SEA Games. They claimed a bronze at the last games in Vietnam in May, but their star competitor did not compete because she was disqualified during her official weigh-in for the 48kg class.
Martial art veteran Bunsong told The Post on November 3: “Jessa Khan’s gold medal victory provides very important encouragement to our Ju-Jitsu team, and makes at least one gold medal at the SEA Games almost a certainty. As an experienced trainer, I can say there are very few people on the planet who are capable of defeating her in the under-52kg event, so expectations are very high.”
He said the national team has trained hard to prepare for the historic games in Cambodia, with the federation hiring a foreign coach to help prepare the athletes and give them the skills and confidence they will need to win medals for the nation.
“We have assembled a strong team of competitors for the games, and brought in a professional trainer from Thailand to push them even further. We hope that we will find success at the games, although it is clear that [Khan] is our strongest candidate for a gold medal,” he added.