GLASGOW - Kenya's Caleb Ndiku took a flamboyant 5000m gold while compatriot Flomena Daniel claimed the women's marathon title as Commonwealth Games athletics got under way Sunday without headliners Usain Bolt and Mo Farah. Ndiku, the world indoor 3000m champion, made the most of the absence of injury-hit Olympic champion Farah to win the first gold medal on offer at the Hampden Park track.
With his hair dyed gold in expectation of victory, Ndiku triumphed in 13min 12.07sec over the 5km race with teammate Isiah Koech claiming silver in 13:14.06, with New Zealander Zane Robertson claiming bronze (13:16.52). "I could see it wasn't going to be easy. There was a lot of tough competition and I needed to know when to attack," said the champion.
In the women's marathon, Daniel, the winner in Paris this year, led teammate Caroline Kilel to a convincing Kenyan one-two with Jess Trengrove grabbing an unexpected bronze for Australia. Australian Michael Shelley prevented a Kenyan marathon sweep by producing a stunning final 8km to win gold with Kenya's Stephen Chemlany in second and Uganda's Abraham Kiplimo taking bronze.
In the blue riband 100m, Nickel Ashmeade, part of the gold medal-winning Jamaican 4x100m relay team from the Moscow worlds last year, clocked 10.40 seconds to win his heat. The weight of the Caribbean island's expectations are resting squarely on Ashmeade's shoulders in the absence of Bolt, who will compete solely in the relay in Glasgow after an injury-plagued season. Adam Gemili of England timed an impressive 10.15sec, the fastest qualifying time for which the crowd afforded him rousing acclaim.
Trinidad and Tobago's Richard Thompson, the 2008 Olympic silver medallist, could only finish third in his heat. In the women's 100m heats, it also wasn't all plain sailing for Thompson's teammate Michelle-Lee Ahye, who rebounded from a sluggish start to come in second in her heat in 11.44 behind Canadian winner Khamica Bingham. Jamaica's Veronica Campbell-Brown looked slick in winning in 11.29sec and she will be joined in the semi-finals by teammates Schillonie Calvert, who clocked the same time in nailing her heat, and Olympic silver medalist Kerron Stewart (11.35).
It was Nigerian Blessing Okagbare who headed the qualifying times with 11.20sec. On the final day of track cycling, Stephanie Morton took gold for Australia in the women's sprint seeing off compatriot and reigning champion Anna Meares. It was a reversal of the 500m time trial final when Morton finished second behind Meares, who has now equalled New Zealand's Gary Anderson as the most decorated track cyclist in Games history with eight medals.
Laura Trott of England shrugged off a kidney infection to win the women's 25km points race ahead of Elinor Barker of Wales while world champion Amy Cure of Australia was a disappointing fourth. In the pool, world champion Cate Campbell looked in supreme form as she cruised into the semi-finals of the women's 100m freestyle.
The Australian exacted a little revenge on Fran Halsall after being beaten to gold in the 50m freestyle by the Englishwoman on Saturday by qualifying fastest in a time of 53:20sec. Halsall was second fastest as she attempted to save her energy ahead of going for a second gold in the 50m butterfly later on Sunday. The highlight of Sunday evening's session, though, will be the battle for the men's 100m freestyle gold between Australian duo James Magnussen and Cameron McEvoy.
Just as in Saturday's men's 100m breaststroke, 19-year-old Englishman Adam Peaty beat South African world record holder Cameron van der Burgh into second place in qualifying fastest for the 50m breaststroke semi-finals. Peaty set another new Commonwealth Games record in the process of 27:00 sec in the process with Scotland's Ross Murdoch qualifying third fastest. The quarter-finals of the rugby sevens at Ibrox Park saw wins for New Zealand over Kenya (19-7), Australia over Wales (21-19), Samoa over England (15-14) and South Africa over Scotland (35-12).
The first two shooting golds of the day both went to England. Charlotte Kerwood took the women's double trap ahead of Shreyasi Singh of India and Rachel Parish of England, while Steven Scott was first in the men's double trap in front of countryman Matthew French and Asab Mohd of India. Singapore stormed to victory in the women's team table-tennis competition, while South Africa won gold in the women's lawn bowls four defeating Malaysia in the final. In weightlifting, Nigeria's Olauwatoyin Adesanmi won the women's 63kg, pushing Commonwealth number one and compatriot Obioma Okoli into the silver position.