MOSCOW, May 21. /TASS/. Russia’s eight-time World Champion in fencing Alexei Yakimenko, who announced a decision to wrap up with his sports career in November 2017, said on Tuesday he planned to return to the sport.
"My return is possible, but some difficulties remain," the 35-year-old athlete, who is also the 2004 Olympic bronze medalist, told a news conference on Tuesday. "I am ready to hit the course and I keep practicing."
"We are currently exchanging correspondence on this issue with the World Anti-Doping Agency [WADA] and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency [RUSADA]," he said. "We are waiting for a decision from WADA."
Ilgar Mamedov, the head coach of the Russian national fencing team, told journalists he hoped that Yakimenko would join the national squad for the European fencing tournament in Hungary’s Budapest on June 17-22.
"We hope that Yakimenko will participate in the European Championship," Mamedov said. "We have been exchanging correspondence for two months already and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency has already replied stating that it has nothing against [of Yakimenko’s return]."
"We are currently waiting for an answer from the World Anti-Doping agency," the head coach of the Russian national fencing team added.
Yakimenko is one of the best Russian fencers and besides winning eight world championships, he also packs three bronze medals and one silver medal of the world championships.
Dueling at the European Fencing Championships, the Russian fencer won 13 gold, five silver and five bronze medals. He is also the three-time winner of the World Cup and five-time champion of the Summer Universiade competitions.
He was also on the Russian national team’s roster at three Olympic Games, namely in 2004 in Athens, 2008 in Beijing and 2012 in London. Yakimenko last appeared on the fighting course at the 2017 World Championship in Tbilisi, where he won the gold in team event.