Kirsty Coventry donated a phone to the medal project ©Tokyo 2020

Swimmer Kirsty Coventry has become the latest to contribute to the Tokyo 2020 medal project with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) praising the organisers efforts to empower athletes.

Coventry, a member of the IOC Coordination Commission, donated an old phone to Tokyo 2020 to support the medal initiative as the second day of meetings drew to a close.

The Zimbabwean was optimistic at Tokyo 2020’s progress, with the Commission having split into smaller working groups today.

“The smaller working groups allow for everyone to dive into things and have really honest communications," she said.

“Tokyo 2020 are doing an amazing job, so it has become hard at times as things are looking really good and ahead of schedule.

“I think some of the high points are really seeing the empowerment that has been given to the athletes in promoting the Games and giving their feedback.

“It is really important an encouraging.”

Coventry passed her phone to Tokyo 2020 along with Japan’s Hanae Ito, who the two-time Olympic champion raced against during her swimming career.

Recycled medals will be awarded to every athlete who reaches the podium in 2020 to fit in with the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) sustainability goals.

Organisers are hoping to collect eight tonnes of metal - 40 kilograms of gold, 4,290kg of silver and 2,944kg of bronze.

After a production process, this will leave two tonnes of metal which will be used to make around 5,000 medals for the Olympics and Paralympics.

Kirsty Coventry has praised Tokyo 2020's efforts to empower athletes ©ITG
Kirsty Coventry has praised Tokyo 2020's efforts to empower athletes ©ITG

A 19-member Task Force charged with drawing up a "legacy" for the Games in the Japanese capital recommended using recycled medals in January of last year.

Coventry praised the initiative, claiming the project was another way to bring people together and feel part of the Games.

“I am very excited about the initiative," Coventry said.

“I think it is another way the Olympics brings people together from all different walks of life and shows how we can all be inclusive.

“A medal is priceless, it means so many different things to each one of us.

“For me, it showed that the hard work paid off.

“I was able to share that, not just with Zimbabweans but everyone from around the world from world class venues, so it was a dream come true.”

Tokyo are following in the footsteps of Rio 2016 where old parts from fridges, microwaves, computers and mobile phones were all used.

Two companies are help with the initiative - mobile phone operator NTT DOCOMO and the Japan Environmental Sanitation Center.

From April, collection boxes have been taking for metal in more than 2,400 NTT DOCOMO stores and public offices throughout Japan.

The collection will end when the eight tonnes target is reached.

The launch event in April saw Japan’s Takeshi Matusda and Takuro Yamada, who competed at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games respectively, hand over phones.

The International Paralympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 contributed during a project review last month, along with swimmers at the Japan Open and athletes at the Japan Para Wheelchair Rugby event.