Mattie Rogers was given a controversial "no lift" at the Pan American Championships ©Getty Images

The Pan American Weightlifting Federation (PAWF) has reacted to the absence of Colombia's team and the Mattie Rogers "no lift" controversy at its recent Continental Championships in Bariloche, Argentina by making two changes to rules for competition hosts.

"What happened in Bariloche must never occur again," said PAWF President José Quiñones.

The PAWF's action was welcomed by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Athletes' Commission who, in a separate discussion two days earlier, called for more input from athletes and more consistency in the way major competitions are run after hearing complaints about a Continental Championships for the second time within two years.

"It is fair and reasonable that athletes should expect standards at Continental Championships to be the same as those for World Championships," said Forrester Osei, chair of the Athletes' Commission.

Colombia, who had entered the strongest team, withdrew from the PAWF's flagship event - a qualifier for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games - because of demands for "cash only" payment of fees.

From now on, National Federations who host PAWF Championships must provide a valid bank account for teams to transfer funds.

Rogers told her 600,000 social media followers that she had been "robbed" of what she thought was a good lift in the women's 81 kilograms in Bariloche, a clean and jerk that would have improved her best total in the Paris ranking list by 7kg.

Online debate about the incident is still going on 11 days later.

IWF Athletes' Commission chair Forrester Osei has called for better standards ©Getty Images
IWF Athletes' Commission chair Forrester Osei has called for better standards ©Getty Images

There was no video playback available to the jury in Argentina, and no athlete challenges.

Video playback is compulsory at world senior, junior and youth world championships, and at the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games, but not at Continental Championships which are the responsibility of the five continental federations rather than the IWF.

From now on, all PAWF events must provide video playback, its Executive Board has decided.

"No PAWF events will be allocated to National Federations that do not fulfil these requirements," said Quiñones, who was not in Bariloche because the competition clashed with an IWF Board meeting at the World Youth Championships in Albania, which he attended.

The PAWF secretary general William Peña was also absent.

He is President of the Colombian federation and, like his team, refused to travel because of the "cash only" dispute.

The IWF does not want cash payments and its Board approved a new rule at the meeting in Albania establishing that "organisers of IWF events must do their utmost to make all financial transactions by wire transfer" from now on.

Quiñones said he was disappointed by the lack of video playback and athlete challenges, which had been used at the past three Pan American Championships, senior and junior.

"I agree we need to have the same rules for all events," he said.

"It's not only a rule, it's common sense, you need to be fair.

"I wasn't in Bariloche and I didn't know they didn't have it [video playback] - it costs pennies.

"If the technology is used at World Championships we have to do the same.

"It's the right of the athlete to challenge."

Colombia withdrew from the Pan American Championships after being asked to pay in cash ©Getty Images
Colombia withdrew from the Pan American Championships after being asked to pay in cash ©Getty Images

When the Athletes' Commission had an online discussion there were complaints about the Pan American Championships.

All Continental Championships in 2023 and 2024 are Olympic qualifiers, and Osei said: "There should be consistency for all, and it's not too late for the IWF to agree to a protocol for all the events in qualifying for Paris 2024. 

"This is the second time we have had problems at a Continental Championships in two years, after what happened in Africa."

He was referring to the 2021 African Championships in Nairobi, where there were problems with the competition platform and athletes had to train in a car park that was still in use, with vehicles driven in and out.

"The athletes should be more involved in upholding standards at competitions," said Osei, who sits on the IWF Board and will raise athletes' concerns at the next appropriate IWF meeting.

The good news for those trying to earn a place in Paris, if not for Rogers, is that they will have the chance to challenge "no lift" decisions at all remaining qualifying events over the next 12 months and video playback will be available in all cases.

When insidethegames contacted officials at the five continental federations they all confirmed that video playback and challenges will be available this year and next.

The European Championships begin in Yerevan, Armenia on Saturday (April 15), and the Asian and African Championships will be in South Korea and Tunisia in May.

Oceania's Continental Championships will be later in the year, at the Pacific Games in the Solomon islands in November.

The IWF Grands Prix and World Cup this year and next year, also Paris qualifiers, will have video playback.