A 12-year-old swimming sensation has already shattered stereotypes and has her sights firmly set on winning at the Olympics.

Afia Minhas has been swimming since she was five-years-old and took part in her first competition, "Rising Stars," at Manchester Aquatics Centre at the age of nine.

Now, determined to be a role model for other Asian girls, Afia has adopted a gruelling training schedule which sees her at the poolside at 4.45am.

Afia said, “I train in eight sessions each week during school days. For the morning sessions I have to wake up at 3:30am. After the training, I am in school by 8:15am. After school I am back in the pool from 3.45pm until 8pm. After that I come home, eat dinner and do my homework.

“In total, I swim about 4,000 meters a day.”

Her hard work has seen her soar in success with Afia accumulating several medals and trophies. The medals she cherishes the most are the nine silver and one bronze medal she won in 2016 at Lancashire County where she was believed to be the first British Pakistani girl to have ever won any medal in the Lancashire County Championships.

Afia has also swum competitively in Pakistan and holds four national records and was also named top national athlete in her age group.

In a bid to encourage interest in swimming as a hobby for girls in Pakistan, Afia and her family are working in conjunction with Veena Masud, Honorary Secretary of the Pakistan Women’s Swimming Association, to promote the sport.

Afia has reaffirmed her commitment to swimming by aiming to represent both the UK and Pakistan at the Olympics.

“My role model is Katie Ledecky, an American swimmer who won her first Olympic medal when she was only fifteen.

“My ultimate accomplishment would be to swim at the Olympics. I want British Asian girls and Pakistani girls to be able to see someone they can relate to that is doing a sport that some unfortunately consider to be immodest.

“My parents have always supported me and I hope I can inspire other girls to follow in my footsteps.”

Whilst Afia relishes the rigour of her training routine, she admits it is challenging to balance swimming with school work. Her swimming club, City of Manchester Aquatics and her school The Barlow RC High School liaise with each other to ensure all targets are met.

The tireless and steadfast efforts of Afia’s parents play a pivotal role in her success.

Her father, Hamid, spoke of his pride of his daughter’s accomplishments.

“As parents it means a lot to have such a talented daughter. She has a natural ability so when she focuses on her training she can achieve amazing things.

“Given the right support, ones child can flourish.

“We have encountered numerous prejudices because Afia swims. Gender stereotypes can discourage girls from taking part in swimming and other sport, so it is even more important for me to show that girls deserve the same opportunities as boys.”