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Games News

Jessa puts Cambodia on the map as Ju-Jitsu joins Asian Games

Date : 24 Aug 2018

Jakarta, Indonesia, August 24, 2018: It was a long day for Cambodia’s Jessa Khan as Ju-Jitsu made its Asian Games debut at the Jakarta Convention Centre Assembly Hall on Friday. She was first on the tatami at 10am – and five fights and over six hours later she was the proud recipient of the first Ju-Jitsu gold medal in Asiad history.

“It feels amazing,” said Jessa. “I am glad to win this for Cambodia, myself and my family.”

The first event on the Ju-Jitsu programme was the Ne-Waza (ground technique) women’s -49kg and Jessa saw off four opponents before meeting Mahra Alhinaai in the final.

In a battle of two teens – Jessa, at 16, was a year younger than Mahra – the Cambodian girl won with an early submission.

“My aim was to put Cambodia on the map,” she added.

She has certainly done that – and become an overnight sensation by winning only the second gold medal in Cambodia’s Asian Games history, following a taekwondo gold at Incheon 2014.

Jessa was born in the United States to a Cambodian father and Mexican mother. She lives at Newport Beach, California, and is the oldest of five siblings – and even her youngest sister has taken up Ju-Jitsu at five years old.

As for Jessa, she started training in Ju-Jitsu in 2009 as she was already interested in martial arts – and paid her first visit to the land of her father earlier this year before coming to Jakarta for the Asian Games.

Immediately after the final she was so overcome with emotion she was unable to speak to the TV broadcasters, but after a long wait for the medal ceremony she was more composed and reveled in the cheers of the noisy Cambodian contingent in the stands.

In the other two events on the opening day, Hamad Nawad of the UAE beat compatriot Khalid Alblooshi in the men’s -56kg, and Torokan Bagynbai Uulu of Kyrgyzstan defeated UAE’s Talib Alkirbi in the men’s -69kg category.

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