The United States' Mattie Rogers missed out on the medals at the Pan American Weightlifting Championships in  Bariloche following a controversial call by the judges ©YouTube

There was controversy at the Pan American Weightlifting Championships in Bariloche when a referee changed a white light to red after the bar was dropped - a decision that kept the popular American Mattie Rogers out of the medals in the women’s 81 kilograms.

When she went for a final attempt at 144kg Rogers fought her way to what she thought was a good lift, which would have given her a total of 254kg and moved her up the rankings for next year's Olympic Games in Paris. 

After the contest in the Argentinean town, won by Ecuador’s Olympic champion Neisi Dajomes with a 256kg total, Rogers claimed on social media that she got the down signal and dropped the bar.

"One judge then changed their white to red because I had 'not stopped moving before the down signal was given' and 'did not show control of the bar,'

"I was told it is the athlete’s job to show full control of the bar regardless of the down signal, i.e., hold it beyond the down signal."

"When you’re in this sport at the elite level for just under a decade, you’ll get your fair share of 'unfair' calls.

"You take them, you cry about it for a little and then you move on."

Rogers tried to be philosophical about the situation.

"I am no stranger to being 'robbed' and I’m sure it'll happen again," she wrote on Instagram.

"If there’s anything I know about myself, it's that I’m a damn good fighter.

"See you all in Cuba [at her next Olympic qualifier in June]."

There was no chance for the jury to review the lift because, unlike at other Olympic qualifying competitions, there is no video playback available in Bariloche, nor are challenge cards in use.

Dajomes, who needed a good result after finishing fifth at the 2022 World Championships in Colombia - the first Olympic qualifier - made 115-141-256, fifth best to date in the rankings.