The Russian women were a class apart in the heats of the women’s 4x400 relay as they ran a world-leading 3:20.32 in the opening heat to lead all qualifiers for tomorrow’s final. The team of Olga Krasnomovets, Natalya Antyukh, Tatyana Firova, and Oleysa Zykina lead from start to finish. Of note was Antyukh’s unofficial 49.3.
Behind the Russians, the Polish quartet, thanks to a critical third leg by Grazyna Prokopek, overtook the German team with 650 metres left and finished second in 3:26.04.
The Germans fell further back on the final lap, being pipped right before the finish by Ilona Usovich, who brought her Belarus team home third in 3:27.65. The German squad clocked 3:27.96, still fast enough to take one of the time-qualifying spots.
The second section appeared to have been won by the US team, but that squad was later disqualified for a lane violation by one of the first two runners.
This moved the British women into the first position in the heat with a time of 3:26.19.
Even before the race had been finished, a collision involving Jamaican and Brazilian runners scrambled the positions going into the final carry. While the Jamaicans were becoming untangled, the final Brazilian runner—Lucimar Teodoro—sailed onward and successfully held off Nataliya Pyhyda running for Ukraine.
The final 3:26.82 clocking for Brazil was a South American record, as Ukraine was timed in 3:27.23.
Lorraine Fenton, not realizing that the US team would be disqualified, made a futile scramble to move her team forward, but the Jamaicans easily took the other time-qualifying place in the final with 3:27.87.