#Roommates, we’re just weeks away from the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, and as the world’s top athletes get ready to snatch medals while competing on the world’s biggest stage, there is a new report creating debate. It was recently confirmed that swimming caps for “Afro hair” have officially been banned from the Tokyo Olympics—all because the committee believes “elite athletes” don’t need them.
@YahooNews reports, while many are excited to finally enjoy the Tokyo Olympics after being delayed an entire year due to the COVID-19 pandemic—another claim of discrimination has just emerged regarding the largest athletic event in the world. The International Federation For Competitions In Water Sports (FINA), which is part of the Olympic committee, recently banned an application for the U.K. company, Soul Cap, for its swimming caps to be officially used by Olympic swimmers who have natural “Afro hair.”
The reasoning for the decision? Well, FINA claims that they decided to ban the swimming caps for those who have Afros or other natural hairstyles because “elite athletes don’t require caps of such size.” In response to the FINA’s decision, the Black Swimming Association stated that it was “disappointing” and “will no doubt discourage many younger athletes from competitive swimming.”
Additionally, the founders of Soul Cap, Michael Chapman and Toks Ahmed, also had something to say about the discriminatory practice. “How do we achieve participation and representation in the world of competition swimmers if the governing body stops suitable swimwear [from] being available to those who are underrepresented? [This] could discourage many younger athletes from pursuing the sport as they progress through local, county, and national competitive swimming,” they said in a joint statement.
In conjunction with the Tokyo Olympics committee, FINA followed up and added that they “shall not allow any discrimination against national federations or individuals.” The Olympics officially begin on July 23rd.
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