Page last updated at 06:37 GMT, Tuesday, 21 April 2009 07:37 UK

Women fight Olympic ski jump ban

World Champion and United States national team member Lindsey Van - 25/3/2009
World champion ski jumper Lindsey Van wants to compete in the Olympics

A group of international female ski jumpers has gone to a Canadian court to try to force the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics to include their events.

The British Columbia Supreme Court has begun hearing the discrimination case.

The 15 women accuse Vancouver's Olympic organisers of violating Canadian human rights law by excluding them, while men compete in three ski jumping events.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) says women's ski jumping is not developed enough to merit inclusion.

The Vancouver Olympic organising committee (Vanoc) argues that the decision not to include women's ski jumping was made by the IOC, which as an international organisation is outside the jurisdiction of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Legal experts say the women must convince BC Supreme Court Justice Lauri Ann Fenlon that Vanoc is controlled by the government and should therefore be subject to the Charter.

Ski jumping is one of the few events at the Winter or Summer Olympics that doesn't have both a men's and women's competition.

"We're asking for a declaration that if Vanoc is going to hold these events in ski jumping for men, it's obligated to hold them for women," the lawyer for the women, Ross Clark, told CBC News before the hearing began.

"It just hurts not to have that opportunity," said women's world champion Lindsey Van of the US outside the courthouse in Vancouver.

"We train so hard, but the men are allowed in and we are not. It's very disappointing."

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