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Cambodia dreams of regional gold and sporting glory

After success at the Asian Games, country is pushing to win more medals

Cambodian American athlete Jessa Khan, right, took the first gold medal awarded for women's under 49kg jiujitsu at the Asian Games in August.    © Reuters

PHNOM PENH -- Cambodia gained a new hero in August, as Jessa Khan, a 16-year-old Cambodian American, won gold in women's jiujitsu, unleashing a torrent of admiring posts, shares and heart emojis across social media.

Khan was only one of two gold medalists from Cambodia in this year's Asian Games that ended early September, but to the country, the medalists offer hope that they can before long tackle competitors in the region and even globally. Cambodia certainly hopes to shine in the 2023 Southeast Asian Games that it will host in Phnom Penh, but experts say the country will need to put in a lot more training -- and funding -- to succeed.

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