Popular Cambodian ju-jitsu athlete Jessa Khan was reduced after her gold-medal winning performance in the no gi ne-waza class on Sunday May 7. The tears expressed her gratitude to all of the Cambodian fans who have supported her journey to the top of the podium.
The tears had flowed on May 4, when she was defeated by Filipino Jenna Kaila Napolis in the gi ne-waza final, and forced to settle for silver, but this time they were tears of joy and excitement, as she submitted Napolis’ compatriot Margarita Prado.
After defeating all four of her opponents in the under 52kg category on May 7, she offered her thanks to her all of the fans who had encouraged her to keep going despite the earlier loss.
“I was heartbroken after I lost the previous final, but the fans continued to encourage and support me. I am so thankful to all of my Cambodian fans and all of my other supporters around the world. I am very satisfied with my performance and felt that I gave it my all. One more thing that makes this performance special is that today, my grandmother came to watch my match. She is proud, and very happy that she got to see me win a gold medal for Cambodia on Cambodian soil,” said Jessa, following the match.
In her first match, held at the OCIC venue earlier that day, Jessa defeated Vietnamese exponent Pung Thi Hue. Her second match saw her submit Singaporean Teh May Yong in under two minutes. He third match, against Thai fighter Phumthong Benyatip, saw Jessa apply a leg lock and force the Thai to tap out in just 42 seconds.
In the final, against the Philippines’ Margarita Prado, Jessa used her skill to trap her opponent’s left leg and force her to tap out 1.58 into the scheduled five minute bout.
“I want to say thank you to the Cambodian people who have always supported me. My goal today was to do my best, and I was able to do that. The organisation of the SEA Games has been great and it is all going really well. It is an amazing event, and I am extremely happy and satisfied that I was able to win a gold medal for the Kingdom,” she said.
After checking on her opponent, who had to be carried off the mats with an ankle injury, a tearful Jessa raised the Cambodian flag above her head and ran around the ring to share her joy with fans.
After the match, Prime Minister Hun Sen singled the young Cambodian-American prodigy for praise on his social media.
“Granddaughter Khan Jessa really delivered an incredible performance today. Apart from winning the competition, you showed the morals and virtuous gestures. Through your respect to a fallen opponent, you showed that you are worthy of representing the Cambodian nation in sports. I wish you good health and continued success,” he said.
After completing her mission at the 32nd SEA Games 2023, Asian Games gold medalist Jessa will return to the US in the next few days to continue her training. She will return for the ASIAN Games in China at the end of this year to try to claim more medals for the Kingdom.
The Cambodian Ju-Jitsu team won a total of three gold, five silver and one bronze at this year’s games. Kong Monamithura and Touch Pei Kakada won gold in the Men’s duo demonstration event, to add to Jessa’s under 52kg no go ne-waza gold.