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Swimming Cap Designed To Protect Natural Hair Has Gained Approval After Being Banned At Tokoyo Olympics

Soul Cap, a swimming cap designed to protect the natural hair of athletes, has gained approval from the International Swimming Federation (FINA) after initially being banned.

The competitive sport’s governing body rejected the use of the head covering during the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

The cap is designed by a Black-owned company and caters to thick, curly, braided, and textured types.

“Our design was unconventional. And back then, there just wasn’t enough awareness about the challenges faced by swimmers from some backgrounds,” said the company in a statement on its website.

On Thursday, FINA Executive Director Brent Nowicki said the announcement “follows a period of review and discussion on cap design between FINA and SOUL CAP over the past year. 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.”

Traditional caps confine to the natural design of the human head, but Soul Cap’s designs are larger and more fitting for those who do not have thinner hair types. A year ago, FINA said  Soul Caps were unsuitable for competition because of the untraditional design, adding that to their “best knowledge, the athletes competing at the international events never used, neither require to use, caps of such size and configuration.”

Since then, there have been discussions about the need for improved inclusivity in competitive swimming, RevoltTv reported.

“We’re so grateful to everyone who showed support and was part of creating this major change,” said SOUL CAP co-founder Toks Ahmed to The Metro UK. He added, “As a new father and someone who didn’t learn to swim growing up, creating access for the next generation feels even more close to home. We’ve seen what community and collective energy can achieve, so we’re hopeful to keep knocking down more of these barriers.”

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