Swimming caps designed for Afro-textured hair barred from the Olympics
Soul Cap, a black-owned company that focuses on creating inclusive swimming caps, has been denied certification for use at the Olympics by the Federation For International Competitions In Water Sports (FINA).
According to UK newspaper Metro, the federation has barred elite athletes from competing while wearing the larger sized swimming cap which is designed to accommodate diverse hair types.
The group also stated that the caps won't be allowed because they don't "fit the natural form of the head".
Speaking to the publication, co-founders Toks Ahmed and Michael Chapman shared their disappointment at the federation and its "failure to acknowledge the diversity of competitive swimmers".
"‘For younger swimmers, feeling included and seeing yourself in a sport at a young age is crucial," Ahmed remarked on the federation's decision. "‘FINA’s recent dismissal could discourage many younger athletes from pursuing the sport as they progress through local, county and national competitive swimming. How do we achieve participation and representation in the world of competition swimmers, if the governing body stops suitable swimwear from being available to those who are underrepresented?"
Ahmed and Chapman came up with the concept of the inclusive swimwear in 2017 after an encounter with a woman with Afro hair who was struggling with the size of her swimming cap.