UPDATE 1-Swiss Olympic joins calls for postponing Tokyo 2020 Games

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ZURICH, March 23 (Reuters) - Switzerland’s top sports body on Monday joined the calls for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to be postponed, saying it had written to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) asking to put the event on hold while the coronavirus pandemic rages.

“Under these conditions, we do not believe that a fair, global Olympic Games in the sense of the Olympic movement are possible. That is why we applied to the IOC for a postponement,” Swiss Olympic President Juerg Stahl said in a statement.

“Athletes are suffering from difficult training conditions. Moreover, the first countries have now cancelled their participation in the Olympics,” he added.

Australia and Canada withdrew from the Games on Monday as organisers faced global pressure to postpone the Games for the first time in their 124-year modern history.

“The Olympic Games send a sign of hope, confidence and joie de vivre - but only if they can be experienced safely and peacefully by all athletes from all countries, by volunteers, officials and the public,” said Stahl. (Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Gareth Jones and Mark Potter)