By Ted Siefer
BOSTON (Reuters) - Russian whistleblower Yulia Stepanova made a sluggish return to international indoor athletics, finishing last in an 800 meters at the Boston Indoor Grand Prix on Saturday.
The former Russian national team member's time of 2 minutes, 5.14 seconds was more than three seconds off American Charlene Lipsey's winning performance in the opening leg of the IAAF world indoor tour.
Stepanova placed seventh, 0.24 seconds out of sixth.
The race was her first against international indoor competition in two years and the 30-year-old ran as a neutral athlete since Russian track and field athletes remain banned from global races.
She and her husband have been living at an undisclosed location in the United States after helping to expose massive doping problems in Russia that led to the country's track and field team being banned.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) cleared the former convicted drug cheat's return to competition as a neutral athlete last year but her European Championships appearance in Amsterdam ended with a torn tendon.
Her only recorded time in competition since then was at an indoor meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico, earlier this month, where she ran 800 meters in 2:10:32, more than 12 seconds off her indoor best set in 2011.
(Writing by Gene Cherry; Editing by Andrew Both)