Swimmers angry over afro Soul Cap Olympics ban

The Black Swimming Association is angry over a ban on the use of a swim cap at the Tokyo Olympics. FINA, swimming's regulatory body, has rejected an application from the brand SOUL CAP. Its cap accommodates diverse hairstyles and hair types. The company wants to help swimmers with afros, dreadlocks, hair extensions, and thick and curly hair. FINA said it would not permit the Soul Cap because swimmers have never used a cap "of such size" before. FINA also stated it would not permit the cap because "it didn't fit the natural form of the head".

The BSA was shocked at the decision. It warned it was a step backwards for black swimmers and would drive away swimmers from diverse backgrounds. A BSA spokeswoman said: "This will affect younger and up-and-coming swimmers who might want to take up elite swimming." She added: "At the highest level, we're hearing that, 'we want the sport to be inclusive and representative; we want to have people of colour in the sport'.…This will affect their decision because by and large, hair is a significant barrier, especially for women."