Nigeria on Thursday qualified for the final of the women’s 4x100m at the ongoing Rio Olympics.
The fourth-place finishers at the London 2012 Olympics, advanced to their seventh successive Olympic women’s 4x100m final after finishing second in a time of 42.55 seconds.
Trinidad and Tobago finished third in the heat after coming 0.07 seconds behind Nigeria who paraded Blessing Okagbare, Gloria Asumnu, Jennifer Madu and Agnes Osazuwa.
Hosts, Brazil and Kazakhstan were disqualified in the race.
Germany – who recorded a blistering world-leading time of 41.62 in Mannheim last month – laid down a statement of their medal intentions by galloping to an impressive heat two win in 42.18 secs.
A second-exchange bungle between Allyson Felix and English Gardner in the heats nearly ended the USA’s hopes of a second successive Olympic 4x100m title.
The defending champions, who also stormed to the world record in this event at the preceding Olympics, were seeking a safe passage through the opening round heats.
However, Gardner – running leg three – who was awaiting the baton from Felix, the seven-time Olympic medallist, appeared to set off far too soon.
In a last-ditch act to make the baton stick in Gardner’s hand, Felix desperately reached out, but as she did so, the baton slipped out of her hand and fatally dropped to the track.
A protest was filed by the US team, and the referee agreed that the US runner was obstructed at the second exchange. The US team will have a re-run alone this evening (Thursday) in an attempt to qualify by time. The mark they have to beat is 42.70 seconds.