BENDIGO athlete Ashleigh Hutchins is still on a high after returning home from the World Dwarf Games with nine medals.
The 19-year-old competed in athletics, swimming, soccer and was a last-minute entrant in floor hockey.
Her prize pool included: silver for the 100 meter track event; silver for the 200 meter track event; gold for the track relay; gold for shot put; gold for discus; bronze for backstroke; silver for the 50 meter freestyle; gold for the 25 meter freestyle; bronze for breaststroke; and gold for the freestyle relay.
This year marked the sixth World Dwarf Games, touted as the "largest sporting event in history exclusively for athletes with dwarfism".
Ashleigh and 30 other members of the Short Statured People of Australia association's squad across the globe to the US state of Michigan to take part in the event.
"It was amazing," she said.
"I loved every minute of it."
Ashleigh competed on August 3, 4 and 5 but only recently returned home to Bendigo after extending her overseas trip for travel opportunities.
Ashleigh's mum Fiona was her travel companion for the Games, number one cheer leader and personal photographer.
Ashleigh said the highlight of the event was being able to compete against other people of similar stature.
"It was also great to meet so many different people from different countries," she said.
"We stayed at Michigan State University - there were two athletes per room and then two rooms shared the same bathroom.
"We really stayed as a team as we were on a floor that was just Australia but we had dinner and breakfast and all that with other athletes.
"So it was good to get to know them."
Ashleigh said she plans to stay in touch with her new friends.
"The team came home with 75 medals so we've done better than we did at the last Games," she said.
"My two relay teams broke records at the games which was great and I got a personal best in my freestyle.
"It was 24 seconds for 25 meter freestyle so that was a personal best for that one."
Ashleigh was given the honour of being flag bearer for the opening ceremony.
"I was the individual on the team who raised the most money through fund-raising," she said.
"I probably raised about $5000 so I'd just like to say another thanks to the Bendigo community for its support."
The next World Dwarf Games is in 2017 with a host country yet to be announced.
Ashleigh is enjoying a break from training but plans to be in peak condition for the 2017 Games.
"It's definitely something I want to do again so I'll work towards that," she said.
"At the Games I was in swimming, track and field, soccer and I ended up doing floor hockey.
"That was a last minute thing when I was over there.
"They were looking for extra teams and one of the Australian people thought we should enter a team for fun.
"We played two games and then got knocked out but we only did it for fun.
"It was good."
October is Dwarfism Awareness Month and Ashleigh hopes her achievements will help inspire others.
Ashleigh has a form of dwarfism called hypochondraplasia and wants to promote better understanding and acceptance of the condition.
"Mum said to me the other day that she's noticed more people talking to me and noticing me since I've been back from the games, probably from the publicity of the Games and people knowing I've been over to the World Dwarf Games," she said.