MOSCOW, January 9. /TASS/. Russia’s national champion in 1,500m running Vladimir Nikitin enjoys being in the focus of doping officers from the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and hopes that multiple doping tests will increase his chances for obtaining the so-called neutral status, which is obligatory to participate in international tournaments.

RUSADA’s press service reported in late December that Nikitin underwent 21 doping tests in 2018 becoming the most tested athlete for performance enhancing drugs among Russian athletes.

“Yes, I underwent 21 doping tests last year,” Nikitin said in an interview with TASS. “Perhaps they have noticed me achieving personal records at all distances and subjected me to multiple doping tests.”

“Such attention to my personality on behalf of anti-doping services does not put me under a strain and let the tests in the future be as intensive,” the athlete said. “I need collecting more doping samples’ results to have more chances of receiving an access to international tournaments.”

“I would like to participate in international tournaments and I will submit my application for the neutral status right after the New Year holidays,” the Russian runner added.

Nikitin was the best runner last season on the distances of 1,500m, 3,000m and 10,000m. He is also the 2011 and 2014 bronze medalist of the European championships in cross-country run.

The second most tested Russian athlete in 2018 is the winner of the 2015 European indoor championship in 3,000m running Yelena Korobkina as she underwent 20 doping tests in the outgoing year.

Russian race walkers Yekaterina Gorshenina and Sergei Rakov are in the third place as each of them passed eighteen tests for performance enhancing drugs in 2018.

The RUSADA and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) signed on April 26 a program on joint measures to prevent violations of anti-doping regulations on the territory of Russia.

The IAAF Doping Review Board approved on December 18 an updated version of the Guidance Note for Authorized Neutral Athlete (ANA) status applications and sent the document to the All-Russia Athletics Federation (RusAF), which is currently suspended with the IAAF.

In December 2016, the IAAF permitted clean athletes from Russia to participate in the international tournaments under the neutral status or the Authorized Neutral Athlete (ANA) until the membership of the RusAF was reinstated.

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