Jessa: Determined to come back stronger

May 17, 2022

Jujitsu exponent Jessa Khan was the odds-on favourite to bag the gold medal in the women's 48kg class competition at the SEA Games. But, her dreams of winning the gold for Cambodia was shattered when she failed to make the weigh-in by a mere 240g.

Jessa was entered for a lower weight category and despite giving her all in the run-up to the SEA Games, could not bring down her weight in time.

Cambodia 2023's Pañathun Jayson caught up with the exponent to find out about her thoughts on the issue and her plans in the near future.

CAMBODIA 2023: How were the preparations coming into the SEA Games? How long did you take to prepare for this competition?

JESSA KHAN: The preparations for the SEA Games was good. I like to treat the SEA Games just like any other tournament. I keep on training the same. I was getting prepared just as if I was doing any other tournament, the same way mentally and physical prepared for this one.

CAMBODIA 2023: Did COVID-19 disrupt any of your training plans prior to coming over to Hanoi?

JESSA KHAN: When Covid-19 first happened it interrupted my training, I was not training for the first three months. But ever since I found I was doing SEA Games in Hanoi, it has not affect her training at all.

CAMBODIA 2023: Was your training and preparations different this time around from your previous competitions?

JESSA KHAN: I felt like it was about the same. I felt like that once I went back to Cambodia, I had more training partners this time around. Like before jujitsu was not as big Cambodia but now there are multiple schools there. And more training partners for me.

CAMBODIA 2023: Has this situation of being over the weight limit arisen before in your past competitions?

JESSA KHAN: Yes, it has happened once before. Obviously, it is not something that you never want it to happen. But sometimes it does happen.

CAMBODIA 2023: What was the rationale of you doing the same routine, preparing the same way in ensuring that you kept to the weight category?

JESSA KHAN: Well, I had a nutritionist, I was trying to train as much as possible, I was following my diet to a T. And I was trying to do actual training sessions, punches all around, punches around the back and also like exercise in my sauna suit and tracksuit just to sweat a little bit more but the weight but the weight was not coming off at all.

Compared to the last SEA Games and Asian Games, the weight was much lower this time. I feel like every year especially since I am getting older, the weight seems to be harder and harder for me.

CAMBODIA 2023: Are you considering changing your training program and dietary intake to ensure that this incident will not repeat itself in the future?

JESSA KHAN: I’ll definitely take that into a fact, I felt like that I did do everything right. Maybe I need to try to be fighting up a division. Just because I am getting a bit older. Like I said I was doing everything right and everyone was there for me. I was following my diet like I said and I was talking to my nutritionist everyday like what should I be eating, what should we be doing? And like doing multiple training sessions a day. And it is a matter of maybe having more time to do it or moving up another weight class.

CAMBODIA 2023: What was it like chosen as the flag-bearer for Cambodia for these games?

JESSA KHAN: It was a very nice experience. I was very grateful and honoured to do that. It is not a lot people that can say that they got to be the flagbearer, especially for Cambodia. It was a very special moment especially because as I had my dad and my grandma here with me. It was really nice to have them marching behind me.

CAMBODIA 2023: Did you feel that pressure was on your shoulder to deliver the gold?

JESSA KHAN: Yes, I feel like right when I arrived in Cambodia and people found out that I was competing at the SEA Games. It was a lot of pressure with everyone coming up to me and saying like everyone was relying on you to win. That was definitely a lot for me to handle but I knew like no matter what I just to try do my best and make everyone proud.

CAMBODIA 2023: What is your next course of action for the next twelve months leading up to the Cambodia 2023 SEA Games?

JESSA KHAN: Until the next SEA Games, I am just like to look back at what I could have done better in the situation. So, like talking to my nutritionist more in what we could do different in helping me prepare for the next tournament to ensure this does not happen again and just trying to compete as much as possible to gain more experience. So, I can get a better performance at the SEA Games next year.

CAMBODIA 2023: Do you have words for your many fans who will continue to support you unconditionally?

JESSA KHAN: I actually want to say thank you everyone’s support. I am really sorry that I was unable to attempt to get a gold medal for Cambodia. I really want to make it up to everyone and do other tournaments representing Cambodia for the rest of the year until the SEA Games.