Kent’s Jaleen Roberts has been chosen to compete for the Team USA track and field team in the Paralympic Games Aug. 24 to Sept. 5 in Tokyo.
This will be the first Paralympic Games for Roberts, a 2017 graduate of Kent-Meridian High School. She is a 2021 graduate of Eastern Washington University in Cheney with a degree in health and physical education.
Roberts, 22, is scheduled to compete in the long jump, 100 meters and 200 meters. She is the 2019 world championship silver medalist in the long jump. She also took a world silver in the long jump in 2017. She earned a gold medal in 2019 in the 4×100 universal relay.
U.S. Paralympics Track and Field announced on June 24 the 26 women who will represent Team USA this summer, following their top performances at the U.S. Paralympic Team Trials in Minneapolis.
Roberts was born with cerebral palsy, a condition caused by a stroke at birth that impairs her muscle coordination, according to Team USA. She was encouraged by her high school coaches to compete in the ambulatory races at the Washington state track and field meet.
Roberts later connected with Teresa Skinner and David Greig, coaches of adaptive sport club ParaSport Spokane who were able to watch her compete. The following year, she became classified and competed at the Desert Challenge games, her first Para track and field competition.
She aspires to become a middle school teacher and wrestling coach. She started wrestling when she was in the eighth grade and competed at the state level for Kent-Meridian. She was one of 16 residents to be appointed in 2014 to the city of Kent’s Parks and Recreation Commission.