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I remember seeing a film on TV as kid, either in the late '70s or the early '80s. I saw it on Dutch TV, but it most likely was a subtitled English language film.

A kid had his favouriteT-shirt end up in some kind of laboratory, where it is experimented on. I remember an image of a "scientist" brushing it lightly with some sort of flame.
The T-shirt had an image of a tiger on it.

The kid retrieves the T-shirt, which now gives him superpowers when worn. He uses that to fight some bullies, who may have had something to do with the T-shirt ending up in the laboratory.

He competes in a running competition, but the T-shirt starts to backfire, slowing him down and maybe even catching fire. He has to take it off. I'm not sure, but I think he wins the race without the T-shirt, on his own strength.

What is this film?

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Before asking, I had one final go at searching. It turns out this is Sammy's Super T-Shirt, a 1978 film by the Children's Film Foundation.

My memories of the film turn out to be largely correct. Sammy is training hard to become stronger. He's a bit small for his age.

Indeed, bullies steal his lucky tiger T-shirt and taunt him with it. It ends up getting thrown to a window into a laboratory, where it is treated with some process that gives it indeed super strength, and super powers to its wearer.

What I hadn't remembered, but came back to me when watching it on YouTube, was the sound of a tiger's roar every time Sammy uses the super powers of the T-shirt. Also, Sammy hears quotes from the exercise cassette tape he's been listening to in his head.

"You too can be strong."

The scientists are able to retrieve the T-shirt and kidnap Sammy along with it. Sammy, aided by his friend Marvin, escape, just in time to compete in the big race. During the race, the T-shirt backfires, visualised by the tiger on it glowing red. Sammy even is forced to run backwards by it and eventually is unable to move. Marvin helps him to take the shirt off and Sammy wins the race without it. I misremembered it catching fire, though — it explodes, after the scientists have captured it after Sammy discarded it.

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