© Ricardo Bufolin

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Sept. 16, 2019 – After the first of two days of qualification for hoop and ball at the 2019 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships, Evita Griskenas of Orland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, and Laura Zeng of Libertyville, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, are currently fourth and sixth, respectively, in the hoop qualification. They will compete in the ball qualification tomorrow at 3:35 p.m. local time at the National Gymnastics Arena in Baku, Azerbaijan. The seven-day championships has competition in both individual and group rhythmic gymnastics, and berths to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, and the 2021 World Games in Birmingham, Ala., are on the line.

Qualifications span four days total, with the first two days hoop and ball, and the second two days clubs and ribbon. The top eight of each event’s qualification ranking will advance to the event finals. The event finals are Sept. 17, hoop and ball, and Sept. 19, clubs and ribbon. The all-around final is on Sept. 20.

In today’s hoop competition, Grikenas posted a 21.000 for fourth, and Zeng’s 20.700 yielded sixth. Russia’s Dina Averina holds the current top score for hoop at 23.650. The Ukraine’s Vlada Nikolchenko claimed the highest ball mark at 21.400. The final qualification day for both hoop and ball is Sept. 17, with the finals that evening.

For the Olympic Games, the top 16, max two per country, in the final all-around rankings and the top five groups in the all-around, who have not already qualified, will qualify for Tokyo. For the 2021 World Games, the top 20 in the all-around final, as well as four wild cards from the qualification round, will earn berths to Birmingham.

In addition to Griskenas and Zeng, Camilla Feeley of Deerfield, Ill., will compete on both the clubs and ribbon events as part of the team competition. Group rhythmic gymnastics begins Sept. 21, and the U.S. group includes Isabelle Connor of Manhattan Beach, Calif.; Connie Du of Deerfield, Ill.; Yelyzaveta Merenzon of Buffalo Grove, Ill.; Elizaveta Pletneva of Deerfield, Ill./; Nicole Sladkov of Vernon Hills, Ill./; and Kristina Sobolevskaya of Chicago. All of them train at North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center.

Griskenas and Zeng will compete at 3:35 p.m. local time in Group B on Sept. 17 in ball. All three will compete on Sept. 18 at 4:40 p.m., starting on clubs. The championships features finals in the all-around, with the top 24 from qualifications, and event finals, top eight from qualifications, with a max of two per country. There also is a team ranking based on the top eight of 10 scores from the qualification round (two hoop, two ball, three clubs and three ribbon routines). The group competition has the all-around and event finals (top eight per event).

The complete competition schedule is below, and Baku is eight hours ahead of U.S. Eastern time.

Sept. 17, Qualification rounds, hoop and ball

  • 10 a.m. – Group C
  • 11:30 a.m. – Group D
  • 2 p.m. – Group A
  • 3:35 p.m. – Group B (USA, 1 and 2)
  • 7:30 p.m. – Finals, hoop and ball

Sept. 18, Qualification rounds, clubs and ribbon

  • 12 p.m. – Group D
  • 1:55 p.m. – Group C
  • 4:40 p.m. – Group B (USA, 1, 2 and 3/clubs)
  • 6:55 p.m. – Group A

Sept. 19, Qualification rounds, clubs and ribbon

  • 9 a.m. – Group B (USA, 1, 2 and 3/ribbon)
  • 11:15 a.m. – Group A
  • 2:10 p.m. – Group D
  • 4:05 p.m. – Group C
  • 7:30 p.m. – Finals, clubs and ribbon

Sept. 20, Final, all-around

  • 2:30 p.m. – Group B (rank 13-24)
  • 5:30 p.m. – Group A (rank 1-12)

Sept. 21, Final, all-around; qualification, 5 balls, 3 hoops/2 pairs of clubs

  • 2:30 p.m. – Group A (USA, 5 balls; 3 hoops/2 pairs of clubs)
  • 4:30 p.m. – Group B

Sept. 22. Final, 5 balls and 3 hoops/2 pairs of clubs

  • 2:30 p.m. – 5 Balls
  • 3:15 p.m. – 3 hoops/2 pairs of clubs

U.S. fans can watch the finals via a livestream and tape delayed broadcast, with a simulcast, on OlympicChannel.com and the Olympic Channel, respectively. NBC Sports and the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA will have coverage of the finals at FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan. Fans can catch all the action in spectacular high definition via NBCSports.com/Live or through the NBC Sports app, which is available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store, Apple TV and Amazon Fire.

Sept. 17 – 11:30 a.m. ET – Hoop, ball finals – Live/Olympic Channel TV, livestream
Sept. 19 – 11:30 a.m. ET – Clubs, ribbon finals – Live/Olympic Channel TV, livestream
Sept. 20 – 6:30 a.m. ET – Ind. all-around final – Livestream
Sept. 20 – 8 p.m. ET – Ind. all-around final – Tape-delayed Olympic Channel TV, livestream
Sept. 21 – 6:30 a.m. ET – Group all-around final – Livestream
Sept. 21 – 6 p.m. ET – Group all-around final – Tape-delayed Olympic Channel TV, livestream
Sept. 22 – 6:30 a.m. ET – Group event finals – Livestream
Sept. 22 – 10 p.m. ET – Group event finals – Tape-delayed Olympic Channel TV, livestream

The International Gymnastics Federation’s website will have live results and other information.