KENNY Roman was synonymous with Cecil Blows during the 1960s. Blows eight times 100 yards and later 100m sprint champion (combined) often locked horns with the up and coming youngster of Harold Cressy High School in the sprints during sports isolation. Roman, as a schoolboy, held several WP and SA sprint records recorded on cinder and gravel athletics tracks.
By the time Roman got to the Hewat Training College in Crawford, Cape Town, he was a celebrated sprint champion. During his sojourn at Hewat, aged 22, he clocked a world-class time of 10,4 seconds in the 100m at an inter-schools athletics meetings on the cinder track of the Hewat Training College in Crawford, Cape Town.
His performance in the 100m caused a sensation during the apartheid days then, and newspapermen and enthusiasts attempted to have Roman and the establishment’s Paul Nash pitted against each other in one 100m race in order to declare who was the faster; Roman, a coloured sprinter from Cape Town or Nash the white sprinter from Kwazulu-Natal?
The race never took place because of South Africa’s segregated policies at the time and, as a nation, South Africa had been banned from sport internationally.
At the age of 21, Nash clocked 10.0 seconds in front of a capacity crowd in Krugersdorp in April 1968, equalling the hand-timed world record jointly held by German Armin Harry, Horacio Estevez of Venezuela and American Jim Hines.
In 1967, Nash competed against Jim Hines in Los Angeles, the 1968 Olympic 100m champion when he finished third in a hand-timed 10.4 with Hines in 10.2.
Roman played baseball for Maitland Giants. He had become their star pitcher. Roman and his family live in Australia.
Nash, the businessman, and his family live in South Africa.