Kent’s Jaleen Roberts earned her second silver medal at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo with an United States record-setting time of 13.16 seconds in the 100 meters.
The mark shattered the previous record of 14.99 set in 2007 by Sabrina Hawkes in the T37 category. China’s Xiaoyan Wen won the 100 on Thursday, Sept. 2 in a world record 13 seconds even.
Earlier in the Paralympics, Roberts took silver in the long jump with a leap of 15 feet and placed sixth in the 200, setting an American record of 28.02.
“I’m proud of myself, I worked really hard, I sacrificed a lot of things,” Roberts said, according to an email from New York-based GreatRange marketing. “I’m proud of myself and I know people at home are proud of me too.”
Wen won her third gold as she also beat Roberts for the gold in the long jump and 200. China’s Fenfen Jiang took third in the 100 in 13.17, barely behind Roberts.
“I saw [Jiang] and I just pushed, I knew I could do it,” said Roberts, a 2017 graduate of Kent-Meridian High School. “I just pushed through the finish line, instead of stopping right at or right before, I think that makes you a lot more successful when you run all the way through the line.”
This was Roberts’ first Paralympic games. She earned two silver medals, the other on Aug. 29 in the women’s T37 long jump event.
I think it’s incredible, I didn’t really have expectations for [the 100-meter dash] but I think that after my prelim performance last night and having my 100-meter performance so close to that, I think my adrenaline was still going from last night and I just wanted to be in a really good headspace,” she said.
Roberts added that she dedicated her Paralympic performance to a friend who had recently died.
“This games was dedicated to her, I just wanted to make her proud,” she said. “I know that my family can’t be in Tokyo but I know that she’s here, I feel her, I talk to her and I think I made her proud, that was my main goal.”
Roberts plans on a short break from training before returning to train for long jump and 100 races in the future.
“I’m feeling pretty good about the training coming up,” she said.
Roberts, a 2021 graduate of Eastern Washington University in Cheney with a degree in health and physical education, was born with cerebral palsy, a condition caused by a stroke at birth that impairs her muscle coordination. She was encouraged by her high school coaches to compete in the ambulatory races at the Washington state track meet.