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.