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Omaha woman headed to Paralympic Games in Tokyo

Posted at 12:08 PM, Jul 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-23 13:08:40-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — A banner hangs outside the Houston home in Omaha. It reads: Congratulations Eva, Paralympics Track, Tokyo.

20-year-old Eva Houston will compete in Tokyo in late August in the 100m and 800m wheelchair races. She's ranked fifth in the world in the 800.

Eva is a Westside High School graduate and now attends Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

"Illinois is one of the most adaptive schools in the country, maybe even the world," said Eva.

She was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at a young age. She started taking part in wheelchair basketball and softball.

"I saw a commercial with an athlete just training, and I thought, 'What is that?' It was a really awesome chair, and I thought I just wanted to get in and try it," Eva said.

She began racing in high school.

"I would be hard to find an athlete in my 20 years that I've coached that put in more work that committed to something more than her," said Jon Preister, Westside's track coach.

Eva's dad helped create special gloves for her to race in high school.

"She works so hard, she's never let anything stop her. She just has this drive I don't know where she gets it," said Kevin Houston.

Since fans are not allowed, Kevin says the family plans to watch Eva on TV or through a streaming service.

Eva realizes others will be watching, too.

"I love the idea of maybe a younger athlete or just somebody who hasn't tried wheelchair sports before to see that this is possible. I often say that sports changed my life," said Eva.

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