Pre-event favourites USA looked to be on course to successfully defend their title from last year, after Shalonda Solomon, Kimberlyn Duncan and Jeneba Tarmoh had built up a comfortable lead on the first three legs.
But then disaster struck on the final changeover between Tarmoh and Allyson Felix. The Olympic 200m champion couldn’t quite get a solid grip on the baton as Tarmoh then bumped into her before Felix fell to the ground, their medal hopes dashed.
There was drama too for the host nation as their second changeover was well outside of the zone. The Bahamas carried on and eventually crossed the line in second place, but they were soon disqualified.
It meant that Nigeria were the surprise victors, winning in 1:30.52 to take two seconds off the national record they set earlier this year. World bronze medallist Blessing Okagbare led the team off before the baton was passed to Regina George, Dominique Duncan and Christy Udoh.
Jamaica finished a distant second in 1:31.73, one-and-a-half seconds slower than their time from last year, but one place higher on the podium.
Germany were third in 1:33.61 while China set an Asian record of 1:34.89 in fourth.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF