Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters begin medal push




Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters begin medal push

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
From left: Jessa Khan, Vivaddhana Khaou, Jayson Panathong and Paas Jasper. AFP

Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters begin medal push

World-renowned martial art Brazilain jiu-jitsu caused a stir in downtown Phnom Penh a couple of years ago when French-born Cambodian Vivaddhana Khao began to passionately promote his H/Art Academy.

Inspired by his training and competition experiences in Japan’s Axis Jiu Jitsu, Khao’s mission went far beyond just training young men and women in the self-defence oriented style of fighting – he wished for recognition from the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia so that the Kingdom could enter the competitive stage.

After nearly two years of hard lobbying and promoting, the now 29-year-old Khao achieved that goal – and at 10am on Friday he will line up in the men’s -69kg class at the JCC Convention Center in Jakarta as the first Cambodian BJJ competitor, in a discipline that had never previously been part of the Asian Games protocol for all these years.

Born in Paris, Khaou’s father is Cambodian and his mother French, and an urge to try “something challenging” after his studies in Phnom Penh drove him to this hugely popular style of martial arts, and he has in turn driven it as an attractive choice for Cambodia at the Games.

The Kingdom is fortunate enough to find a female co-competitor with Khaou who also has an impressive track record.

This year’s double gold Pan Am champ Jessa Khan, who also has Cambodian lineage, trains out of Art of Jiu-Jitsu Academy in California.

She has a slew of grand performances in Organge county, San Diego, World Championship and LA Super Championship and can make her class count in the women’s -49 kg class.

According to team leader Jayson Panathong, there are high expectations of the 23-year-old Khan and Khaou doing the country proud, and Dutch coach Paas Casper is also guardedly optimistic that the two stand a good chance of a podium finish.

Panathong said: “If Jessa fights to her full potential and uses her skills and strength the way she has done in so many high-profile events, she should be among medals.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Without shoes or a helmet, a young cyclist steals the show

    Pech Theara gripped the curved handlebars of his rusty old bike, planted his bare feet on its pedals and stormed as fast as he could towards the finish line. The odds were against him as the 13-year-old faced off against kids with nicer bikes at

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway on schedule

    The construction of the more than $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has not been delayed despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 26 per cent of the project completed and expected to finish in about two years, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Cambodia lauded for fight against Covid-19

    Cambodia has drawn global accolades for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a new report finding that the Kingdom has controlled the pandemic better than any other country in Asia. Dr Takeshi Kasai, director of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Western Pacific region,

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there