As the sun peered into the Hampden Park stadium on a pleasant Sunday afternoon, it was a man with golden hair who left with the same colour draped around his neck, after an entertaining 5,000m Commonwealth final.
With the earlier announcement of Mo Farah’s withdrawal from the Commonwealth Games, many ticket holders were understandably disgruntled. For the distance running fan, however, this left the event wide open, and the final outcome did not disappoint.
After a 60, 57, and 54 second final three laps, it was Kenyan Caleb Ndiku who blistered away from the field in a time of 13 minutes 12 seconds, to take his first ever outdoor gold at a major championships.
With only the Americans and Farah missing from the race, Ndiku looked controlled throughout, and had fellow Kenyan Isiah Koech as well as New Zealand twins Jake and Zane Robertson for company. They were all unable to live with a monstrous surge with 200m to go, as Ndiku ran a 26 second final half lap – his 1500m speed proving decisive.
Visibly jubilant, the crowd were also treated to the Kenyans unique charisma, as he danced and entertained his way around the stadium – his victory lap embraced by all in attendance.
At only 21 years of age, the Kenyan is already beginning to show huge potential, after already winning the indoor 3,000m World title earlier this year in Sopot. Due to his father David Ndiku, who was a javelin thrower, Caleb was always surrounded by sporting people, and he first started out on the cross country circuit, before moving up to 1500m.
Little known to many, Ndiku had a glistening junior career, winning the World junior title for 1500m and cross country, both in the same year. Now after proving he has the talent on a senior stage, something very little athletes are able to achieve following junior success, the big question is whether the young Kenyan can beat Mo Farah at next year’s World Championships, and then at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
This sits amongst a very long list of questions, however, as the Kenyan may decide to maximise his potential at the 1500m, as well as Farah’s ambitions to make a success out of his marathon career.
One thing is for sure though, Caleb Ndiku is a man to look out for, as his evident natural ability combined with his infectious aura could one day make him a house hold name, amongst athletics fans all around the world.