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Veterans, Newcomers Battle in Baku Qualifications
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The FIG World Cup series continued Thursday with the first day of qualification at the World Challenge Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan, where several new names managed to impress alongside their veteran competitors.

The FIG World Cup series continued Thursday with the first day of qualification at the World Challenge Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan, where several new names managed to impress alongside their veteran competitors.

Gymnasts from 23 countries have gathered at Baku's beautiful National Gymnastics Arena for the second edition of the FIG World Challenge Cup, dubbed the AGF Trophy 2017 by the Azerbaijani Gymnastics Federation. The competition for individual events is part of the FIG World Cup series.

The lineup boasts several world and Olympic medalists, and the event is serving as the big first test for several gymnasts now eligible to compete among seniors. The gymnasts, who marched out in divided rotations of only four gymnasts, competed in a darkened arena with spotlights, giving the competition an atmosphere of an exhibition.

Uzbekistan's Oksana Chusovitina — the most experienced gymnast of all at 41 — was the top gymnast on vault. Chusovitina, the defending champion from the 2016 Baku World Challenge Cup, qualified first over Australian veteran Emily Little and Azerbaijan's Marina Nekrasova.

First-year senior Diana Varinska, a tremendous talent who has emerged as a bright hope for Ukraine, was the top gymnast on uneven bars despite a flawed routine: inside Stalder; Komova II to Pak; Maloney uprise full pirouette; Tkatchev to mixed grip to straddled front flip (large break and stopped routine) and ended with a simple layout flyaway dismount.

Varinska's score of 13.366 (7.666 Execution score for 5.7 Difficulty) was still enough to top a field where most of the gymnasts struggled. Olympic finalist Shang Chunsong, who fell on her Maloney, scored only 5.433 in Execution for seventh.

Chinese first-year senior Wang Cenyu fell on her layout Jaeger to take second (13.100/5.9) behind Varinska. Australian gymnasts Georgia-Rose Brown (13.000/5.1) and Rianna Mizzen qualified third and fourth to the finals.

One new name in Baku comes via a familiar face: Ukrainian Olympian Angelina Kysla is now Angelina Radivilova following her marriage to fellow gymnast Igor Radivilov. Radivilova qualified fifth to the uneven bars finals (fall on dismount).

Azerbaijan's Murad Agharzayev, 18, performed confidently to take the top spot on men's floor exercise (Randi; double-twisting front to Rudi (out); double front; 2 1/2 to layout barani; double twist; triple twist; 14.266/5.6). Lithuania's Tomas Kuzmickas (14.066/5.8) qualified second over Australia's Christopher Remkes (14.033/6.1).

European champion and world medalist Alexander Shatilov, third at last year's AGF Trophy, qualified sixth (13.700/5.5). His teammate Artyom Dolgopyat was injured on his triple back and could not finish the routine. World medalist Rayderley Zapata (Spain), performed tucked and piked versions of his new skill (barani in, full out) but fell on his layout double-double to miss the finals.

Olympic champion Eleftherios Petrounias (Greece) qualified first on still rings, performing a nearly flawless routine for a 9.033 Execution score (15.333/6.3). His top rivals finished a half point behind. Japan's Kazuyuki Takeda was second (14.833/6.1) over Greece's Konstantinos Konstantinidis (14.733/6.0).

Qualification was also held for parallel bars — out of the Olympic order which normally would have seen pommel horse contested. China's Liu Rongbing (15.066/6.4) grabbed the top spot over teammate He Youxiao (14.600/6.4) and Takeda (14.433/6.2).

Competition continues Friday in Baku with the second day of qualification, which features three-time Olympic champion Cătălina Ponor (Romania) in the lineup for balance beam and floor exercise.

External Link: Azerbaijani Gymnastics Federation

2017 AGF Trophy/FIG Challenger Cup
March 16, Baku, Azerbaijan

Women's Vault QualificationDENDScoreAverage
1.Oksana Chusovitina5.49.00014.40014.383 Q
2.Emily Little5.49.20014.60014.033 Q
3.Marina Nekrasova4.69.13313.73313.733 Q
4.Teja Belak5.47.80013.20013.617 Q
5.Tjaša Kysselef4.88.5660.113.26613.366 Q
6.Argyro Afrati4.48.8660.113.16613.283 Q
7.Gaya Giladi4.68.70013.30013.150 Q
8.Rosanna Ojala4.28.96613.16613.016 Q
9.Doğa Ketenci4.28.73312.93312.867 R1
10.Maria Smirnova4.48.80013.20012.717 R2
11.Ekin Morova3.58.66612.16612.666 R3
12.Maria Butskikh4.08.70012.70012.367

Uneven Bars QualificationDENDScore
1.Diana Varinska5.77.66613.366 Q
2.Wang Cenyu5.97.20013.100 Q
3.Georgia-Rose Brown5.17.90013.000 Q
4.Rianna Mizzen5.56.50012.000 Q
5.Angelina (Kysla) Radivilova5.26.73311.933 Q
6.Yulia Inshina4.37.56611.866 Q
7.Shang Chunsong 6.15.43311.533 Q
8.Yekaterina Tishkova4.76.70011.400 Q
9.Rosanna Ojala4.56.80011.300 R1
10.Teja Belak3.77.53311.233 R2
11.Ivana Kamnikar4.46.60011.000 R3
12.Maria Butskikh3.07.90010.900
13.Argyro Afrati4.95.73310.633
14.Evangelia Plyta5.64.96610.566
15.Demet Mutlu4.75.50010.200
16.Anamaria Ocolișan3.46.5009.900
17.Ekin Morova4.25.3339.533
18.Ominakhon Khalilova3.46.0669.466
19.Khilola Doniyorova3.75.0668.766

Men's Floor Exercise QualificationDENDScore
1.Murad Agharzayev5.68.7660.114.266 Q
2.Tomas Kuzmickas5.88.26614.066 Q
3.Christopher Remkes6.18.0330.114.033 Q
4.Pavel Bulavsky5.78.13313.833 Q
5.Naoto Hayasaka6.27.53313.733 Q
6.Alexander Shatilov5.58.20013.700 Q
7.Žiga Šilc5.48.1660.313.266 Q
8.Oskar Kirmes5.48.0330.213.233 Q
9.Heikki Saarenketo5.18.06613.166 R1
10.Eduard Shaulov5.57.5660.112.966 R2
11.Antonios Tantalidis5.87.2660.112.966 R3
12.Anton Olivson5.07.93312.933
13.Konstantin Kuzovkov4.58.33312.833
14.Ilkay Uğuz5.47.4000.112.700
15.Edgar Boulet5.97.0660.312.666
16.Rayderley Zapata6.26.5000.212.500
17.Andrew Smith5.56.9660.112.366
18.Abdulla Azimov4.97.43312.333
19.Cristian Bățagă5.57.2000.412.300
20.Dmitry Govorov5.37.1000.412.000
21.Dimitrios Markousis5.26.8660.111.966
22.Danil Baturin6.45.8660.611.666
23.Adelin Kotrong5.65.96611.566
24.Ilya Yakauleu5.46.2330.211.433
25.Maksym Ivanov5.46.3330.411.333
26.Vyacheslav Kim5.36.0000.610.700
27.Mustafa Arca5.35.3330.110.533
28.Pol Díaz5.35.6330.510.433
29.Robert Tvorogal1.08.7008.01.700
30.Artyom Dolgopyat0.68.7008.01.300

Still Rings QualificationDENDScore
1.Eleftherios Petrounias6.39.03315.333 Q
2.Kazuyuki Takeda6.18.73314.833 Q
3.Konstantinos Konstantinidis6.08.73314.733 Q
4.Shogo Nonomura6.08.46614.466 Q
5.Yevgen Yudenkov6.18.13314.233 Q
6.Tomi Tuuha4.88.73313.533 Q
7.Rayderley Zapata5.77.56613.266 Q
8.Oskar Kirmes4.88.33313.133 Q
9.Mahdi Ahmad Kohani5.57.60013.100 R1
10.Bence Tálas5.67.46613.066 R2
11.Eyal Glazer5.47.50012.900 R3
12.Michael Tone5.47.30012.700
13.Hamza Yılmaz5.47.26612.666
14.Dmitry Govorov4.08.40012.400
15.Konstantin Kuzovkov4.57.66612.166
16.Anton Olivson4.27.83312.033
17.Yunus Emre Gündoğdu4.76.73311.433
18.Vyacheslav Kim4.56.56611.066
19.Ilya Yakauleu3.76.0009.700

Parallel Bars QualificationDENDScore
1.Liu Rongbing6.48.66615.066 Q
2.He Youxiao6.48.20014.600 Q
3.Kazuyuki Takeda6.28.23314.433 Q
4.Alen Dimic5.58.60014.100 Q
5.Tomas Kuzmickas5.08.76613.766 Q
6.Yevgen Yudenkov5.68.13313.733 Q
7.Shogo Nonomura5.38.16613.466 Q
8.Murad Agharzayev4.78.73313.433 Q
9.Saba Abesadze4.48.73313.133 R1
10.Vlad Cotuna5.67.50013.100 R2
11.Clay Mason Stephens5.67.7660.313.066 R3
12.Timur Kadirov4.88.23313.033
13.Moran Yanuka5.08.00013.000
14.Sercan Demir5.37.56612.866
15.Vyacheslav Kim5.17.70012.800
15.Michael Sorokine5.17.70012.800
17.Mitchell Morgans5.17.66612.766
18.Andres Martín4.97.70012.600
19.Oskar Kirmes5.07.7330.312.433
20.Rhys McClenaghan4.87.60012.400
21.Anton Olivson5.07.23312.233
22.Nikolaos Iliopoulos5.56.73312.233
24.Georgios Chatziefstathiou5.36.90012.200
23.Yunus Emre Gündoğdu4.57.70012.200
25.Dmitry Govorov4.67.33311.933
26.Eduard Shaulov4.67.06611.666
27.Pol Díaz4.96.46611.366
28.Ioan Nistor4.86.30011.100
29.Yasir Al-Dulaimi4.36.26610.566
30.Robert Tvorogal4.46.10010.500
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