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Inclusive swim caps created for natural hair will not be permitted during the upcoming Summer Olympics, according to Metro.
The publication reported on Wednesday that the International Swimming Federation (FINA) rejected an application to certify products from Black-owned brand Soul Cap for competition swimming.
As Metro reported, the FINA committee said it would not permit the swim caps because to the group’s “best knowledge,” competing athletes “never used, neither require to use, caps of such size and configuration.”
It also said the caps would not be permitted as they don’t fit “the natural form of the head.”
Toks Ahmed and Michael Champman, the cofounders of Soul Cap, told Metro that they feel the FINA committee has failed to “acknowledge the diversity of competitive swimmers,” especially during a time when there’s been an “increase in swimmers from ethnic minority backgrounds qualifying for the Olympics.”
The duo shared a similar sentiment on their brand’s Instagram page, writing that they originally hoped they could help continue working toward diversity in swimming by having the swim caps certified for competitions. That way, according to Soul Cap, swimmers wouldn’t have to choose between “the sport they love and their hair.”
“For younger swimmers, feeling included and seeing yourself in a sport at a young age is crucial,” the statement continued. “FINA’s recent dismissal could discourage many younger athletes from pursuing the sport as they progress through local, county, and national competitive swimming.”
Ahmed and Champman added: “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. A huge thanks to all who have supported us and our work so far. We don’t see this as a set back, but a chance to open up a dialogue to make a bigger difference.💧”
Representatives for Soul Cap and FINA did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.