With Mo Farah missing from the Commonwealth Games, Kenya’s Caleb Ndiku was so confident of winning the 5000m, he dyed his hair gold.
His confidence was well placed, as he backed up his flamboyance with a strong win on the opening day of athletics at the Games.
The world indoor 3000m champion took his chance in the absence of Olympic champion Farah who withdrew from the Games last week due to illness and led a predictable Kenyan one-two at Hampden Park, with Isiah Koech taking silver.
Out of nine medals on offer on the opening day of athletics, all in distance events, Kenya claimed five.
Flomena Daniel won the women’s marathon in another Kenyan double, with Caroline Kilel coming second, but Australia’s Michael Shelley denied the Africans a Sunday sweep.
Shelley took a surprise marathon gold in a time of two hours 11 minutes and 15 seconds, ahead of Kenyan Stephen Chemlany and Uganda’s Abraham Kiplimo.
He was one of eight Australian gold medallists on day four of competition, lifting their country clear of England on top the medals table with 26 gold in a total of 73.
England has 23 gold and 57 medals in all, while host nation Scotland went without a gold on Sunday to remain in third place with 11 golds.
While Kenya are expected to dominate the distance events at the athletics, the sprints will be a different story, even without six-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt who’s only running the 4x100m relay.
Bolt’s world championship winning relay teammate Nickel Ashmeade clocked 10.40 seconds to win his 100m heat on Sunday, while England’s Adam Gemili was the fastest qualifier in 10.15.
In the women’s 100m heats, Nigerian Blessing Okagbare headed the qualifying times with 11.20, while Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown won her heat in 11.29.
Australia finished the track cycling program as the dominant nation on seven gold medals, with Stephanie Morton beating her teammate and defending champion Anna Meares in the women’s sprint final.
Laura Trott of England overcame a kidney infection to win the women’s 25km points race, while New Zealand’s Shane Archbold won his country’s fourth cycling gold, taking out the 20km scratch race.
Australia has also been dominant in the pool, claiming the trifecta in the men’s 100m freestyle on Sunday, led by James Magnussen, while England’s Fran Halsall won her second gold for the Games when she added the 50m butterfly to her 50m freestyle title.
But New Zealand’s dominance of rugby sevens was brought to an end by South Africa with a 17-12 win in the final at Ibrox.
New Zealand have won every sevens gold since the sport was introduced to the Games in 1998, but after taking the lead with an early try, were run over by the South Africans who won their country’s fifth gold of the Games.
New Zealand captain DJ Forbes acknowledged the end of an era.
“We are part of the legacy that has gone before us – we’d never been beaten,” Forbes said.
“As a country we have a lot of chances to win medals but as a New Zealand rugby player it is disappointing to come second.”
South Africa also won gold in the women’s lawn bowls four, defeating Malaysia in the final.