Mo Farah recovered from a last-lap trip to keep his tilt at another long-distance double alive on a day which saw Dina Asher-Smith and Zharnel Hughes underline their World Championship medal potential.
Three days on from taking the 10,000m crown, the 32-year-old began his bid to retain the world 5,000m title at the Bird’s Nest.
Like Sunday, though, there was a heart-in-mouth moment as Farah almost hit the deck after a tangle in legs around the final bend, only to regain his balance and finish in 13 minutes 19.44 seconds, 0.06secs.
It was enough to see the Briton qualify behind Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha, keeping his hopes alive of a record-breaking third successive long-distance double at major global championships.
“I nearly went down – again,” said Farah. “I hope it doesn’t become third time bad luck.
“Somebody caught my leg. I’ve got a long stride, it’s the way I run.
“I don’t blame anyone, but even in training sometimes my training partners catch my leg which is why I sometimes have to be on the front or the back, or stay on the outside.
“I felt all right, I felt good. I have to recover now and get ready.
“It’s been an amazing team spirit, incredible. It brings back (memories of) ‘Super Saturday’ with myself, Jess (Ennis-Hill) and Greg (Rutherford).”
British team-mate Tom Farrell and American training partner Galen Rupp will join Farah on Sunday, by which point the British medal haul may have been boosted by the exciting crop of young sprinters.
Teenager Dina Asher-Smith spearheads the women’s charge and laid down the gauntlet on last night, setting a new 200m personal best in the heats.
A month after becoming the first British woman to dip under 11 seconds over half that distance, the 19-year-old crossed the line in 22.22 secs despite clearly easing up towards the end.
“I’m really happy, I didn’t expect to go out there and run a PB in the heat,” said student Asher-Smith.
“I was just trying to qualify so ran a good bend, saw where I was and tried to relax off and ease my way to the line.”
A season’s best from Bianca Williams and a solid run from Margaret Adeoye means it will be a three-pronged British attack in the 200m semi-finals, which the latter reached in unusual circumstances as she followed home Veronica Campbell-Brown.
The Jamaican two-time Olympic champion missed the last World Championships following a failed drugs test and inexplicably drifted into the Briton’s lane on the bend.
Danny Talbot missed out on the final of the men’s 200m despite clocking a 20.27s PB in his semi-final, but Hughes will carry Britain’s hopes after winning his race in 20.14.
“It was great,” the Anguilla-born sprinter said. “I just went out, executed my race and tried to stay relaxed and I did that.”
Elsewhere, European champion Eilidh Child finished sixth in the 400m hurdles final – the same as Rabah Yousif in the 400m. Holly Bradshaw impressed as she continued her return from a potentially career-threatening back injury, with a season’s best of 4.70m seeing her finish seventh in the pole vault.
Sophie Hitchon reachedthe hammer throw final and Lawrence Clarke made it out of the 110m hurdles heats, while Lynsey Sharp, Shelayna Oskan-Clarke and Jenny Meadows progressed to the 800m semi-finals.