Farah storms to another 10,000m gold
Britain's Mo Farah celebrates after winning the final of the men's 10,000 metres athletics event
Mo Farah stormed to back-to-back 10,000 metres world titles Saturday while superstar Usain Bolt strolled into the 100m semi-finals in his return to the Bird's Nest stadium where he rose to superstar status with a title treble at the 2008 Olympics.
Farah tripped and almost fell going into the final lap but regrouped to run away from three Kenyan rivals as he starts the quest for a third global 5,000m/10,000m double following the 2012 Olympic and 2013 worlds.
Bolt electrified the screaming fans with his sheer presence before easing into the semis with a modest 9.96-second performance in search of his 15th gold at worlds and Olympics. American season leader Justin Gatlin paced the heats with 9.83 seconds.
Eritrean Ghirmay Ghebreslassie became the youngest marathon world champion at age 19 and Germany's Christina Schwanitz took women's shot put gold.
In-between, Chinese President Xi Jinping formally opened the 15th worlds during a glittering 45-minute opening ceremony.
Doping has overshadowed the build-up, with the ruling body IAAF and Russia attacked by allegations in TV documentaries, and Farah's coach Alberto Salazar also mentioned. And according to some, Gatlin, a two-time doping offender, represents what is wrong with the sport in contrast to the clean-cut Bolt.
Bolt remains the face of the sport but has had some nagging injuries for a modest season best of 9.87, while Gatlin has 9.74. But Bolt has never lost a big final on the track since 2008, leads the series with Gatlin 6-1, and said Saturday he was "100 per cent" fit.
"Overall it was good. I was really happy with my performance, I think I did really well," Bolt said. "I wasn't trying to run fast I was trying to do as much as possible just to get through the rounds."
Gatlin said: "I just went out there to do the first half of the race really well and just wanted to go out there and get ready for the next round.
Farah has not been implicated in the accusations against Salazar but they hampered his preparations although he showed none of it in the Bird's Nest. His rivals set a fast pace but couldn't wear him out.
He kicked as usual, from a five-man leader group, at the bell to win in 27 minutes 1.13 seconds from Kenyans Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor, Paul Kipngetich and Bedan Karoki Muchiri despite being clipped in the penultimate turn.
"It was a matter of digging in there and hopefully it didn't take it too much out of me. It's not easy running 27 minutes in this heat," Farah told the BBC.
Ghebreslassie caught up with long-time leader Tsepo Mathibelle of Lesotho and then held off a challenge from Ethiopia's Yemane Tsegay to win the marathon in the morning heat in 2:12:28 hours for Eritrea's first world title overall from Tsegay and Uganda's Munyo Solomon Mutai in 2:13:30.
The fancied Kenyans met disaster, with Mark Korir their best in 22nd place as world record holder Dennis Kimetto and Wilson Kipsang Kirotich did not finish.
"Today's weather was very nice. I grew up in similar conditions," he said. "I am proud of this victory. It is a very special thing for our (Eritrea's) history.
With top star Valerie Adams of New Zealand out injured, Schwanitz lived up to her top billing to win the shot put with 20.37m from local hope Gong Liljao (20.30) and American Michelle Carter (19.76).
In selected preliminary action, world record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia dominated the women's 1,500m heats; Olympic champion David Rudisha of Kenya advanced into the 800m semi-finals after missing the last worlds with injury; and French Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie reached the pole vault final along with German holder Raphael Holzdeppe.
The women's heptathlon saw Jessica Ennis-Hill lead with 4,005 points after four disciplines, in her first big competition since winning at the 2012 Olympics and giving birth to a son. Fellow Briton Katarina Johnson-Thompson is second with 3,925.
Sunday's medal events apart from the completion of the heptathlon and the men's 100m are the men's 20km walk, shot put and hammer throw.