Sir Mo Farah remained on track for a golden double at the World Championships but refused to take a fairytale finale for granted.
The 34-year-old finished second in his 5,000 metres heat in 13 minutes 30.18 seconds and is now eyeing Saturday’s final ahead of his planned track retirement at the end of the month.
Farah has already won the 10,000m – Great Britain’s only medal of the championships so far – to defend the title he won in 2013 and 2015.
And a double defence is on the cards after Farah shrugged off a knee injury and a cut leg, having been spiked in his 10,000m triumph.
Wednesday’s heat was run in soaking conditions at the London Stadium and Farah is wary of missing out on gold after Usain Bolt, retiring after the championships, only won bronze in the 100m on Saturday.
He said: “You’ve seen it with Usain Bolt, it happens. It would have been nice to see him win but it didn’t happen and no-one is going to give it to you – no matter who you are, even Usain Bolt.
“I just have to now focus on myself and get ready. It would be pretty amazing – no-one has ever done it. It would mean the world to me but at the same time I don’t take it for granted.
“Those boys are coming for me, they are hungry. You could see in the heat, they wanted to prove a point and show me.
“I’m going to do it. You’ll see me at the start line. I just have to recover.
“I’m cold, it’s miserable out there but it’s job done. I had to get back into some kind of running again. It’s been five days of chilling out and recovering.
“The 10k did take a lot out of me and I’m a little beaten up but I’m okay, I’m glad I’ve qualified and will get ready for the final.”
Farah went home to spend time with his family this week but admitted he could only last a night before he returned to the team hotel.
“The knee’s all right, the body is a bit tired – that’s all. I just have to recover now and get in the zone and switch off, turn off the lights,” he said.
“The doctors and the team have been great for me. In fact I went home to stay in Teddington, that’s where my family are, and I was like, ‘Nah, I need to get back in the hotel’. I only stayed one night.”
Andy Butchart also reached the 5,000m final while Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake was the only British sprinter to make the 200m final.
He squeezed in as one of the fastest losers after running 20.19 seconds and coming third in his heat behind Botswana’s Isaac Makwala.
He said: “I focus on my lane and my lane only. I’m glad he (Makwala) was in. I feel like given an opportunity I’m sure I will seize it.
“He (Wayde Van Niekerk) is sensational, in the 400m, the 200m and the 100m but at the end of the day I have to concentrate on my lane and my lane only.”
Danny Talbot and Zharnel Hughes, who was picked ahead of Adam Gemili, failed to make the final.
Lorranie Ugen reached the long jump final and, in the 3000m steeplechase, Lennie Waite and Rosie Clarke failed to progress beyond their heats but Nick Miller qualified for the hammer final.