Mphatso Chimphwanya wins bronze at special games


Malawi’s sole Special Olympics lawn tennis player, Mphatso Chimphwanya, won a bronze medal on Friday during the World Summer Special Olympics Games in Los Angeles.

Chimphwanya had lost three games but managed to recover to win two games.

She was also given a gold medal for being a lively participant.


According to, Chimphwanya has become a pseudo celebrity since she arrived in the US.

“She hugs the bus drivers and sings songs that she makes up as she goes, all to the same tune,” the website reported.

“She lost her first three matches that day before winning her finale, which sent her into a celebration that lasted much of the afternoon. That’s when everyone fell in love with her, because everyone got a hug,” Mary McPherson, a volunteer from Maryland who is serving as the delegate liaison for Malawi, told the online publication.


According to her coach Regina Dembo, Chiphwanya is the only Special Olympics tennis player in all of Malawi.

“So it’s hard for her to find playing partners. The U.S. team’s unofficial adoption of Chiphwanya solved that problem at the World Games, where the tennis matches are taking place at UCLA.

“It’s different when you practice with other athletes compared with just your coach. You feel like you’re in the game, like its real,” Dembo said.

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