Nigeria produced the fastest time of the year, a stadium record and an African record by winning the second semifinal in 37.94. Cuba ran second (38.06) and the defending champion and 1996 Olympic gold medallist, Canada ran third (38.15). Brazil in fourth with a new South American record of 38.17 (the second of the day), and Japan in fifth with a new Asian record of 38.31, the fastest non-qualifying time at the world championships.
The first heat was taken by Ghana in a national record time of 38.12. Second was Great Britain with a season’s best of 38.25. Spain was third with a national record of 38.60, and France was fourth with 38.71. The Greek team (anchor man Angelos Pavlakakis) dropped the baton with 40 metres to go when they were contending for a spot in Sunday’s final.