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Young woman wearing swimming cap and goggles at poolside

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After all the backlash received for failing to certify a swim cap designed with kinky curly hair types in mind and to be worn at the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) now says that it’s “reviewing” its decision.

In a statement released on July 2, FINA said it has acknowledged and absorbed all of the “comments and reactions” concerning the denial of certification for SOUL CAP — a swim cap company for “thick, curly, and voluminous hair” — to be worn in FINA competitions held around the world, including at this year’s Olympics.

“FINA is committed to ensuring that all aquatics athletes have access to appropriate swimwear for competition where this swimwear does not confer a competitive advantage,” the federation’s statement noted. “FINA is currently reviewing the situation with regards to SOUL CAP and similar products, understanding the importance of inclusivity and representation.”

“There is no restriction on SOUL CAP swim caps for recreational and teaching purposes,” the federation highlighted, before noting an appreciation for SOUL CAP’s mission and plans to get the swim caps used in various FINA Development Centers.

“FINA expects to make its consideration of SOUL CAP and similar products part of wider initiatives aimed at ensuring there are no barriers to participation in swimming, which is both a sport and a vital life skill,” the statement concluded.

As MadameNoire previously reported, Toks Ahmed, one of the founders of SOUL CAP, told Metro UK that he and his partner Michael Chapman felt as though FINA’s initial ban on their swim caps was a discriminatory measure that was put in place without thinking through the repercussions it might have on young swimmers.

“For younger swimmers, feeling included and seeing yourself in a sport at a young age is crucial,” Ahmed stated. “FINA’s recent dismissal could discourage many younger athletes from pursuing the sport as they progress through local, county and national competitive swimming.”

He added, “We feel the rejection comes from lack of thought, without full consideration for diversity and the different requirements non-white athletes may have.”

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