After facing backlash over rejecting Soul Cap at Tokyo Olympics, the International Swimming Federation (Fina) that governs water sports is now reconsidering its decision. A few days ago, Fina barred Soul Cap, a black-owned company that designs swimming caps for natural black hair, at the Tokyo Olympics. While rejecting the company, Fina had said that the company's caps did not fit "the natural form of the head" and are not suitable.
Now, Fina has said it is "reviewing the situation" regarding the products.
The body understands "the importance of inclusivity and representation", Fina said in a statement, adding that it is "committed to ensuring that all aquatics athletes have access to appropriate swimwear for competition where this swimwear does not confer a competitive advantage."
The International Swimming Federation said that it would talk to Soul Cap about using the swimming hats at development centres of Fina across the world, where swimmers are trained.
Soul Cap has previously partnered with Alice Dearing, who is the first black female swimmer to represent Team GB at Tokyo Olympics this year. The company makes swimming caps for dreadlocks, afros, weaves, braids, and thick and curly hair.
Fina's move confirms "a lack of diversity in (sport), Danielle Obe, the founding member of the Black Swimming Association, had told The Guardian.
After the move, Swin England, a sport's governing body, in a statement said that it would 'reassure' that Soul Caps would be allowed at domestic competitions in England and would raise its 'concerns' of its rejection "through the appropriate channels".
"Swimming hats designed for afro hair can reduce barriers to the sport for under-represented groups, including black people," Swin England added in the statement.
Only 2% of regular swimmers in England are black, as 95% of black adults and 80% of black children do not swim, according to Swim England. It also says that black children are three times more likely to drown than white children.