A ban on swimming caps that are designed to guard pure black hair has been lifted by the International Swimming Federation (FINA).
The specialist headwear, which was created by a black-owned UK model, was banned from the Tokyo Olympics final yr, with the water sport’s governing physique stating on the time that it didn’t match “the natural form of the head”.
That resolution was criticised by the Black Swimming Association (BSA) and Soul Cap, which designed and created the swim caps.
On Thursday, FINA authorised the usage of the swim caps, a transfer Soul Cap described as a “huge step in the right direction”.
“Bringing inclusive swimwear into competitive swimming, and helping to bring down some of the obstacles that are keeping swimmers away from the sport,” Soul Cap stated.
“But it’s not just about the Olympics and other high-profile events: It’s a decision that affects competitive swimming at every level – from triathlons and marathon swims, right down to the grassroots organisations that develop and train the next generation of elite athletes.”
FINA’s govt director Brent Nowicki informed Sky News: “I’m delighted that this swim cap has joined FINA’s authorised swimwear listing. This announcement follows a interval of overview and dialogue on cap design shut between FINA and Soul Cap over the previous yr.
“Promoting diversity and inclusivity is at the heart of FINA’s work, and it is very important that all aquatic athletes have access to the appropriate swimwear.”
Last yr’s Olympic ban drew criticism from the swimming neighborhood and FINA issued an apology for his or her rejection and requested Soul Cap to re-apply, the corporate added.
The BSA added that it “couldn’t be happier” that the headwear has been authorised by FINA.
Recent figures from Sport England present that 95% of black adults and 80% of black kids in England don’t swim in any respect, and only one% of registered swimmers with the governing physique establish as black or blended race.
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Soul Cap, which was based in 2017, had beforehand stated the ban may “discourage many younger athletes from pursuing the sport”.
“We feel there’s always room for improvement, but there’s only so much grassroots and small brands can do – we need the top to be receptive to positive change,” Soul Cap stated.
The firm has partnered with Alice Dearing, who was the first-ever black feminine swimmer to characterize Team GB at Tokyo and can also be the co-founder of the BSA.