The USA team achieved the fastest time of today’s semifinals by winning the 3rd heat in 2:59.78. The second leg, run by the 1991 world champion, Antonio Pettigrew was the fastest in an unofficial 43.6. The 1997 world champion in 110 metres hurdles, Allen Johnson, ran the anchor for the American team. Zimbabwe produced a new national record, finishing 2nd with 3:00.79. Italy was 3rd with 3:01.75 and advanced to the final with the second fastest time of the non-automatic qualifiers.
The winner of heat 2, Poland, produced a national record of 2:59.91, and became the 11th nation to better 3 minutes. Jamaica was second with 2:59.98, a season’s best, and South Africa 3rd with 3:00.58, a new national record, and the 400m hurdles silver medallist Llewellyn Herbert running the 4th leg.
Great Britain won the 1st heat in 3:00.19, with the 1996 Olympic silver medallist, Roger Black running the 2nd leg in an unofficial split of 44.3. France was second with a season’s best of 3:01.76. The 1997 world champion, Stephane Diagana ran the anchor leg of the French team. Third in this heat was Austria with a new national record of 3:02.95, but that wasn’t enough to advance to the final.