March 2 - Women's ski jumping should be introduced to the programme for Sochi in 2014, senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) Gerhard Heiberg claimed today.

The sport brought a bitter but unsuccessful campaign to be included in the Vancouver Olympics last year but now seems certain to be admitted for the next Games after the influential Heiberg added his vocie to their growing campaign.

"I hope it's included," Heiberg told The Associated Press.

"I would be in favour and of course I will report this to [IOC] President [Jacques] Rogge."

Heiberg had been due to attend the women's World Championships in Oslo last Saturday (February 26) but had to watch it from his hospital bed after suffering a minor heart attack.

But he was nevertheless impressed by what he saw as the gold medal was won by Austria's Daniela Iraschko (pictured) with two jumps of 97 metres in a competition affected by strong winds and fog.

"I was not very positive after what I saw two years ago at the World Championships in Liberec, but today I am of another opinion," said Heiberg, a member of the IOC's ruling Executive Board and the organiser of the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. 

"I think there has been a great improvement.

"Fifteen nations took part, the quality was pretty good in the conditions they had, and there was not too much distance between the first one and the 10- 15 best ones."

Women's ski jumping is one of seven new disciplines hoping to be included on the programme for Sochi.

The others are slopestyle events in snowboard and Alpine freestyle, ski halfpipe, mixed relay in biathlon, and team events in figure skating and luge.

The IOC is due to announce a decision next month.

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