© Ricardo Bufolin

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Sept. 19, 2019 – Laura Zeng of Libertyville, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, qualified for today’s 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 both qualified for the all-around final via 10th and 13th place in the qualification rankings. U.S.-based fans can watch the clubs and ribbon finals live at 11:30 a.m. ET today on the Olympic Channel, both on television and online, and the all-around finals tomorrow live online at 6:30 a.m. ET and tape-delayed with a simulcast on the Olympic Channel at 8:00 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 all-around qualification, the top 24 gymnasts, maximum two per country, advanced to the all-around finals based on the gymnast’s top three of four or three scores from the qualification round. Russia’s Dina Averina has tallied a three-event score of 71.350 for the top spot, with a comfortable lead over Israel’s Linoy Ashram at 68.400. Arina Averina rounded out the top three in the all-around rankings at 67.750. Both Griskenas (62.900/10th) and Zeng (62.250/13th) advanced to the event finals and will compete in the 5:30 p.m. local time all-around session tomorrow. Griskenas’ scores for each event were: hoop, 21.000; ball, 21.200; clubs, 20.700; and ribbon, 18.600. Zeng’s scores for each event were: hoop, 20.700; ball, 20.400; clubs, 21.150; and ribbon, 19.400.

In the team competition, the USA finished seventh at 163.150. The team ranking was based on the top eight of 10 scores from the qualification round (two hoop, two ball, three clubs and three ribbon routines). Russia claimed the gold with a 186.500. Israel was second at 174.750, with Belarus in third at 168.550.

In the ribbon qualification, Zeng posted a 19.400 for ninth place, but qualified to the event final via the max two per country rule. Griskenas landed in 17th place with an 18.600. Camilla Feeley of Deerfield, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, scored a 17.200 for 33rd. Dina Averina scored the event’s top mark at 21.700, followed by Ukraine’s Vlada Nikolchenko and Ashram at 21.150. Ashram placed second via the tie-breaker. For clubs, the U.S. final rankings were Zeng, 11th; Griskenas, 14th; and Feeley, 46th. Arina Averina garnered the event’s best score at 24.250, just edging out twin sister, Dina, at 24.000. Ashram was third (23.600). Zeng is the second reserve athlete for the clubs final. More than 150 rhythmic gymnasts participated in the clubs and ribbon preliminary rounds.

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. 19, Finals, clubs and ribbon

  • 7:30 p.m. – Clubs final
  • 8:05 p.m. – Ribbon final

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, 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. 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 has live results and other information.