Romela Begaj May Lose Snatch Gold Medal for Doping Violation; Mattie Rogers in Line for Silver

Will Mattie Rogers be retroactively named a World Championships silver medalist? According to the English-language Albanian newspaper Tirana Times, the -69kg Romela Begaj may lose the medals she won at the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships due to doping, though it’s worth emphasizing another test will need to confirm that status. If this happens, third-place finisher in the snatch and the total Mattie Rogers will move into second place and secure both silver medals.

It appears that one of Begaj’s urine samples has tested positive for the anabolic steroid Stanozolol. While her B sample still needs to be tested for her to officially lose her gold medal, the article states that she has been “provisionally suspended.” It’s not certain that this means she has been provisionally suspended from the International Weightlifting Federation, who have yet to comment.

The 31-year-old snatched 107kg to win her gold medal and clean & jerked 128kg for a total of 235kg, which earned her silver in the total. The silver medal in the snatch went to Colombia’s Miyareth Mendoze with 106kg, followed by Rogers’ 104kg lift for bronze. Rogers also earned bronze for her total of 235kg, so Begaj’s disqualification would give her a silver medal in both the snatch and the total.

After the announcement, Rogers tweeted:

Nothing is official as of now, but the usual doping measures are being taken with this case. Nothing will be set in stone until appeals are settled & B sample is tested.

She also agreed to participate in an upcoming Reddit AMA, though the date is currently TBD.

Begaj is Albania’s first female gold medalist in the World Weightlifting Championships, and if it goes ahead, this would be her second suspension after she was found to have been using PEDs during the 2014 World Weightlifting Championships. Begaj’s husband and coach Gazmend Hackani claims his wife hasn’t used any banned substances and “is optimistic the B sample will prove it.”

Featured image via @iwfnet and @romela_begaj_weightlifting on Instagram.


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Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of things.After Shanghai, he went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before finishing his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and heading to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like BarBend, Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.No fan of writing in the third person, Nick’s passion for health stems from an interest in self improvement: How do we reach our potential?Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.