By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
FINA, the World Governing Body of Aquatic Sports, has banned the use, in international competitions, including the forthcoming 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, of swimming caps designed for competitors with afros, braids, dreadlocks and “any type of voluminous hair”.
These caps have been banned on the grounds that “athletes competing at the international events never used, neither require to use, caps of such size and configuration”.
And added that they were not suitable because they did not follow “the natural form of the head”.
Not surprisingly, this ban has provoked an outrage on social media, forcing FINA to reconsider the matter, stating that it “recognises the importance of inclusivity and representation”.
FINA has also stated that it is committed to ensuring that all aquatic athletes have access to appropriate swimwear for competition, as long as such swimwear does not offer an unfair competitive advantage.
Inclusivity must be the name of the game!