© Ricardo Bufolin

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Sept. 19, 2019 – Laura Zeng of Libertyville, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, was fifth in the ribbon final at the 2019 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships at the National Gymnastics Arena in Baku, Azerbaijan. Evita Griskenas of Orland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, and Zeng will both compete in the all-around final tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. local time (9:30 a.m. ET). U.S.-based fans can watch the all-around finals tomorrow live online at 6:30 a.m. ET (rank 13-24) and 9:30 a.m. ET (rank 1-12) and tape-delayed with a simulcast on the Olympic Channel at 8 p.m. ET. 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.

In the ribbon final, Zeng posted a 19.300 for fifth. Russia’s Dina Averina earned a 21.800 for the gold. Israel’s Linoy Ashram clinched the silver at 20.750, and Russia’s Ekaterina Selezneva claimed the bronze (20.650). Averina and Ashram also finished first (23.800) and second (23.300), respectively, in the clubs final. Ukraine’s Vlada Nikolchenko took third (22.350).

For the Olympic Games qualifying, 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.

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. The group competition has the all-around and event finals (top eight per event).

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

Sept. 20, Final, all-around

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

Sept. 21, Group – 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, Group – 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. 20 – 6:30 a.m. ET – Ind. all-around final (rank 13-24) – Livestream
Sept. 20 – 9:30 a.m. ET – Ind. all-around final (rank 1-12) – 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 has live results and other information.