- Soul Cap, a swimming cap that protects Black hairstyles, was accepted for competitors Thursday.
- The worldwide swimming federation FINA beforehand banned the cap from use on the Tokyo Olympics.
- The ban sparked an outcry and a world dialogue about hair discrimination in water sports activities.
Soul Cap, a swimming cap that protects voluminous Black hairstyles like braids, afros, and curls, was formally accepted to be used in competitors this week.
The approval comes one yr after the product was banned by the Worldwide Swimming Federation, also referred to as FINA, previous to the beginning of the Tokyo Olympics. FINA would not enable Soul Caps on the international occasion as a result of it claimed athletes have “by no means used, neither require to make use of, caps of such measurement and configuration,” in keeping with The Related Press.
The AP additionally reported that the group deemed the cap unusable final July as a result of it did not comply with “the pure type of the top,” as said in its necessities for swimwear approval.
The choice sparked backlash and began a world dialogue about hair discrimination in water sports activities. FINA introduced in a press release the identical month that it might reevaluate the ban as a result of it understood “the significance of inclusivity and illustration,” in keeping with NPR.
FINA Government Director Brent Nowicki instructed Metro’s Natalie Morris that Soul Cap was approved Thursday after a “interval of assessment and dialogue on cap design” between the corporate and the athletic group.
“Selling variety and inclusivity is on the coronary heart of FINA’s work, and it is extremely vital that every one aquatic athletes have entry to the suitable swimwear,” he mentioned.
One in every of Soul Cap’s founders, Toks Ahmed, additionally instructed the outlet that the approval performs an enormous half within the firm’s mission to enhance accessibility in swimming.
“‘We’re so grateful to everybody who confirmed assist and was a part of creating this main change,” Ahmed mentioned. “As a brand new father and somebody who did not be taught to swim rising up, creating entry for the following era feels much more near dwelling.”
Representatives for FINA and Soul Cap didn’t instantly reply to Insider’s request for remark.
Soul Cap has made historical past earlier than. In response to Metro, the corporate collaborated with swimmer Alice Dearing, the primary Black girl to symbolize Nice Britain in swimming on the Olympics.
The athlete can be one of many co-founders of the Black Swimming Affiliation, a gaggle she began with inventor Danielle Obe, movie producer Ed Accura, and journalist Seren Jones, in keeping with Swimming World Journal. The affiliation’s purpose is to “deal with inequalities and obstacles that preclude African, Caribbean, and Asian communities from collaborating in aquatics,” the journal notes.
Dearing instructed NPR that she was excited by the information and is aware of “lots of people worth the choice this cover brings them when going swimming.”
“Realizing that it’s acceptable to compete on this cap on the highest stage of sport sends a message that hair shouldn’t be a barrier which stops folks from collaborating,” she added.
Representatives for the Black Swimming Affiliation didn’t instantly reply to Insider’s request for remark, however the group tweeted “we couldn’t be happier” Friday after Soul Cap was approved.