At the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, she won bronze medals in the 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) pursuit and 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) individual; she originally finished fourth in the individual but was promoted when her teammate Olga Pyleva was disqualified after failing a doping test. She also won gold, silver, and bronze medals in Olympic relay competitions in 2006, 1998, and 2002, respectively.
Akhatova also won the gold medals in the mass start at the 2003 World Championship held in Khanty-Mansiysk. In 1999 in Oslo, she won the bronze medal, and in 2004 in Oberhof, Germany, she won the silver medal, both over the distance of 15 km. She also was part of Russia's winning relay teams at the 2000 and 2003 World Championships.
After a break in the 2006/07 season, she returned in January 2008. At the 2008 World Championships in Östersund, she won the silver medal in the 7.5 kilometres (4.7 mi) sprint and the bronze medal in the subsequent 10 km pursuit.