MINNEAPOLIS, MN - Westmoreland's Jason Robinson has traveled the world and collected lots of hardware while competing in wheelchair racing events, but this week brings him closer to his ultimate dream.
Robinson is in Minneapolis to compete for a spot on Team USA for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games later this summer.
"J-Rob" will look to qualify in three events: 100-meter, 1,500-meter, and 5,000-meter races.
He will begin his appearance in the U.S. Paralympic Team Trials with the 100m prelims on Thursday. Should he advance, the finals in that event will take place on Friday.
Then on Saturday, he will compete in the finals for both the 1,500m and 5,000m races.
Having just graduated from Westmoreland High School, the Paralympic All-American and multi-New York State champion looks to take the next step in his career, competing at the highest level against veteran paralympians who he has looked up to as idols.
'It's pretty exciting especially to be able to do it at such a young age," the 18-year-old said. "We had the plan going into last year that this would be the end goal and [despite the pandemic] the plan didn't change really. It just moved a year, and added a little extra time. But I'm just super excited just to be here and to be able to compete and see how my best as compared to the rest and see if that's good enough to make a spot on the team."
Robinson said that while it would mean the world to him to qualify for the Paralympics and represent the United States on the world stage, he isn't putting too much pressure on himself.
"It's been my goal and my dream since I was four years old and ever since I found out about what wheelchair racing was," Robinson said. "[The Paralympics is) the highest level of competition, that's the peak and that's where everyone else is at their highest level. Every other athlete from every other country that's competing there is bringing their best.
"So whether [I qualify] this time or whether it's three years, four years down the road; whether it's the next Games or whenever it is, it's going to be awesome."
The U.S. Paralympic Team Trials begin Thursday and go through Sunday.
The 2020 Tokyo Paralympic games take place from Aug. 24 through Sept. 5.