Born to a Cambodian father and a Latin American mother, 16-year-old Jessa Khan won Cambodia’s first Asian Games gold medal in Jiu-Jitsu after sensationally defeating Mahra Alhinaai of the UAE in Jakarta on August 24. Hiezle Bual caught up with the martial arts prodigy, who first made a name for herself on social media in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu circuit.
ood Times2: Is this your first Asian Games medal? How does it feel to bring home a gold medal for Cambodia?
Jessa Khan: I feel really happy bringing a gold medal for Cambodia. Also because I got to represent the whole country so that was really amazing.
Good Times2: Was there anybody in particular during the Asian Games that you dreaded to compete with?
Jessa Khan: No. I was training super hard so I was ready to fight anyone. But I knew a few girls.
Good Times2: How old are you now? At what age did you start training for Jiu-Jitsu?
Jessa Khan: I am now 16 and had been training for eight years. I have been doing this sport for half of my life already.
Good Times2: Why such sport?
Jessa Khan: For me, I always loved martial arts and with Jiu-Jitsu, you can do other martial arts while doing it. It’s not like Karate. If you practice Karate, you only have to concentrate on that martial art. In Jiu-Jitsu, you can do judo and wrestling. It’s a great combination of other martial arts and that’s why I really like it. Although Karate was my first martial art, I then shifted to Jiu-Jitsu.