Decision To Bar Afro Swim Caps at Olympics Is Under Review

In the last few days, the Tokyo Olympics have been punctuated by yet another controversy, although this time the event is not the main protagonist.

The International Swimming Federation (FINA), which is the water sports world governing body, had taken the decision not to allow caps designed for afro hair at international competitions (including Tokyo 2020).

The federation had claimed that the hats are not suitable because they do not conform “to the natural form of the head”. However, the decision could be reconsidered after backlash.

The arguments put forward by FINA sparked criticism from many swimmers. Some of them even said that such a decision could discourage black people from practising the sport.

On Monday, in a statement, FINA said they are now “reviewing the situation” regarding these sports equipment.

They also said they are aware of the importance of “inclusivity and representation”.

“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,” reads another paragraph.

On the other hand, the governing body announced that it will talk to Soul Cap (the manufacturer of these peculiar caps) about the use of these hats in FINA’s development centres.

Top swimmers such as Britain’s Alice Dearing have been spotted wearing these garments.