Explained: Why are japanese swimming caps made for black athletes banned from the Tokyo Olympics

The japanese swimming caps were designed by Soul Cap, a British brand owned by Black. Toks Ahmed, cofounder of Should Cap, stated that FINA’s decision not to allow these swim caps was likely to discourage many young athletes from participating in the sport.

Why was Soul Cap’s japanese swimming caps for black athletes banning?

FINA’s decision caused outrage within and outside the athletic community. The overwhelming backlash led to FINA’s decision to reexamine its decision, but not immediately to reverse the ban.

“Soul Cap” swim caps are free Just Keep Swimming to be used for teaching and recreational purposes. FINA thanks “Soul Cap” as well as other suppliers for their efforts to ensure that everyone can enjoy the water. FINA will also talk with the manufacturer of “Soul Cap” to discuss the possibility of using their products through FINA Development Centres,” reads an official statement.

How are these Swim Caps any Different?

Soul Cap founders claim that these japanese swimming caps  are bigger to accommodate thick and curly hair, afros and weaves. According to the company’s website, they are “extra-large japanese swim caps designed for swimmers who have trouble with their hair.”

Natural Black hair swim caps are hard to find, making them a major problem for amateur and professional swimmers. Because natural Black hair has fewer layers of cells, it tends to be dryer than caucasian hair.  Black athletes need a swim cap that fits properly to protect their hair.

According to The Guardian, Speedo 50 created the original swimming cap keeping in mind caucasian hair. Danielle Obe, a founding member of The Black Swimming Association, stated that these caps were not suitable for Afro hair because it “grows up” and defies gravity.

What is the Olympic rulebook on Japanese Swimming Caps?

The 2020 FINA Olympic rulebook states that manufacturers of new swimwear and caps must submit their designs to FINA in order to be approved before they can use them at competitions. According to the rule book, swimmers can wear two swim caps.

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Why are “Japanese Swimming Caps” made for black?

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