A very welcome emergence at the low-profile Crystal Palace Indoor Open on Wednesday was the sight of Jade Johnson dashing down the straight in the women’s 60m in her first competitive outing in any event in well over a year.

It has been a rough journey for the 31-year-old long jumper ever since finishing a rather surprise seventh at the Olympics in Beijing as she was battered by storms and swept by waves of adversity all the way, looking adrift, doomed and as though she could not escape her fate.

But she has managed to survive and struggle out of her woes, even shaken off a long-term adrenal fatigue syndrome, and now entertains thoughts of competing in a third Olympics in a row, more so when this time is held round her own backyard in London.

Her time of 7.87 secs is nothing to set the world alight at the moment, her first sprint race after two years (PB 7.43 secs 2004), but it’s a competitive start to get that feel back in her system while still just in late December, so she can hope to improve a lot on this when the indoor season gets underway in earnest.

Nevertheless, Johnson has got a mountain to climb to force her way into the Olympic squad in that only an A qualifying standard (6.75m), essentially a straight return to her very best form, will be enough to gain a place.

Shara Proctor already meets that standard on her PB of 6.81m in Florida last summer and the UK Athletics selection policy demands that any other athlete looking to occupy a berth out of the two left up for grabs do likewise, B qualifiers coming into play only in the event where there is no A equivalent in their discipline.

Yet, if tradition is anything to go by, the John Herbert-trained jumper has enjoyed her best form ever in Olympic campaigns and maybe her star could shine again, coming seventh both in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008. Moreover, she set PBs in both seasons reaching out to 6.80m in that former Olympic final and improving it by a mere cm at the European Cup in Annecy leading up to the latter.

For good measure, she was fourth at the World Championships in Paris in 2003, silver medallist at the Europeans in Munich in 2002 and a European U23 champion the preceding season, therefore the quality and experience is there to make that big leap back to the fore.

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