Swimming caps designed for natural black hair created by a black-owned brand will not be allowed at the Olympics.
The hats, made by Soul Cap, which previously partnered with Alice Dearing, who last week qualified to become the first black female swimmer to represent Team GB at the Olympics, have been rejected by the International Swimming Federation (Fina).
The body said the caps did not fit “the natural form of the head” and to their “best knowledge the athletes competing at the international events never used, neither require … caps of such size and configuration”.
Danielle Obe, the founding member of the Black Swimming Association, told the Guardian the ruling underlined the inherent systemic and institutional inequalities around the sport. “We believe that it confirms a lack of diversity in (the sport),” she said. “Aquatic swimming must do better.”
The original swimming cap, designed by Speedo 50, was created to prevent Caucasian hair from flowing into the face when swimming. Obe said the caps did not work for afro hair, which “grows up and defies gravity”.
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SOURCE: The Guardian, Priya Elan