The Black Swimming Association is angry because FINA, swimming’s regulatory body, rejected a swim cap for the Tokyo Olympics. The “Soul Cap” allows people with afros, dreadlocks, hair extensions, and thick and curly hair to swim comfortably. FINA said it would not allow the Soul Cap because a cap “of such size” has never been used before. FINA also stated it would not permit the cap because “it didn’t fit the natural form of the head”.
The BSA warned the decision was a step backwards and would drive away swimmers from diverse backgrounds. A 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;…we want to have people of colour in the sport’….[but] by and large, hair is a significant barrier, especially for women.”