BJJ black belt Jessa Khan is representing Cambodia at the SEA Games. She was born in the US and is based permanently there but is eligible to represent the country through her father.
The 21 year old has been representing Cambodia in international competitions since 2018 and has won numerous medals. She was just 16 when she first went to the Asian Games and won a hold medal in jiu jitsu in the <49kgs category.
In 2019 she won gold at the SEA Game in the same category. This year the tournament was held in Phnom Penh and she was competing at <52kgs.
Khan came up short in the gi competition after losing to Jenna Kaila Napolis in the final. She earned a silver medal in that tournament but finally got the gold that she craved after winning the no gi section on Saturday:
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Khan is signed to ONE Championship but has yet to make her debut for the promotion. She does have a win over fellow BJJ black belt Danielle Kelly on her record and there has been a lot of speculation about a possible rematch.
She beat another Filipina, Meggie Ochoa, in the final to the delight of the Cambodian fans at the Chroy Changvar International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Phnom Penh.
In recognition of Khan’s dual nationality even the American ambassador to Cambodia sent his congratulations:
— Ambassador W. Patrick Murphy (@USAmbCambodia) May 7, 2023
The topic of non Cambodian fighters being allowed to represent the country has come into focus in recent weeks. Thiago Teixeira was controversially awarded nationality after speaking out to defend the sport of Kun Khmer.
As well as being handed Cambodian citizenship the Brazilian was given $20,000 USD by prime minister Hun Sen. Last weekend he represented the country in international competition for the first time, travelling to Malaysia to compete in Muay Thai.
Teixeira was beaten by a Thai journeyman called Denkaosaen Sakkaosaen. But at least Khan was able to register a victory for the nation to the obvious delight of the Cambodian fans.