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Patricia Bezzoubenko still has shot at Olympics after rhythmic gymnastics worlds

Toronto's Patricia Bezzoubenko produced her best performance of the 2015 rhythmic gymnastics world championships on Thursday in Stuttgart, Germany to keep alive her hopes of qualifying for the Olympics next summer.

Canadian gymnast has one last chance to qualify in April

Patricia Bezzoubenko failed to qualify for the all-around final at the rhythmic gymnastics world championships, but she will have another chance to earn a spot at the 2016 Olympics. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press)

Toronto's Patricia Bezzoubenko produced her best performance of the 2015 rhythmic gymnastics world championships on Thursday in Stuttgart, Germany to keep alive her hopes of qualifying for the 2016 Olympics.

In the fourth and final event of the qualification round, Bezzoubenko earned a personal best score of 17.116 points in the clubs event, good for 21st place and boosting her to 31st all-around in a field of 114 competitors.

Although she fell short of a top 24 finish needed to qualify for the all-around final, Bezzoubenko's performance clinched a spot in the final qualification event to be held in April.

Russians swept the top-three spots in the all-around qualification, with defending world champion Yana Kudryavtseva in first with 56.883 points. Margarita Mamun placed second with a score of 55.708 and Aleksandra Soldatova was third at 55.549. 

In their first world championship appearance, Carmen Whelan of Toronto competed in all four events and placed 60th all-around while Katherine Uchida, also of Toronto, competed in two events, placing 83rd in clubs and 106th in ribbon.

Bezzoubenko's coach Svetlana Joukova said she was impressed by Bezzoubenko's response from one of her weakest international showings in Wednesday's ribbon event to a best-ever in clubs a day later.

"After her ribbon routine she was very upset," said Joukova. "I think she was putting too much pressure on herself because she really wanted to finish in the top 24 and qualify for the final."

"But she pulled herself together and got the job done. This is a good lesson for her and hopefully she can focus now on getting ready for the last Olympic qualification event."

The top 15 in the all around qualification at this year's world championships earned one spot for their country at the Games while the next 23 highest ranked competitors, including Bezzoubenko, go on to battle for the remaining six spots up for grabs at the final Olympic qualifier.

"From here everything starts from the beginning," says Joukova. "Patricia has a chance to qualify. She knows she can do better and she has to focus and have confidence."

Competition continues Friday at the world championships with the all-around final, followed by the competition in the group event on the weekend.

With files from Gymnastics Canada

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