Published: Thu, March 08, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Mhlengi Gwala, South African Triathlete, Attacked With Saw

Mhlengi Gwala, South African Triathlete, Attacked With Saw

South African triathlete Mhlengi Gwala is undergoing surgery after three men reportedly attempted to cut off his legs with a chainsaw. Gwala was reportedly training near the University of KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday morning at around 3.15am when he was approached by three men and dragged into the bushes.

"The suspects fled the scene when they noticed someone was coming and the victim was assisted by security guards in the vicinity", said police spokesperson Nqobile Gwala, no relation to the athlete. The three attackers sawed into Gwala's right calf and damaged muscle, nerves and bone, Jackson said.

"They took the chainsaw, which they were not using electrically, but manually".

Gwala‚ who has been part of the programme for four years‚ has represented South Africa twice in worldwide triathlons.

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Shange, Gwala's training partner, told the BBC that doctors expected to save his legs.

Jackson said the attackers also started sawing into Gwala's left leg before fleeing, enabling the athlete to crawl to a road and flag down a passing auto to take him to a hospital.

The attack has friends of Gwala and other athletes puzzled.

The men cut into both of Gwala's legs before he was able to escape.

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"He tried offering them his cellphone and money, but they pinned him down and tried to saw off his leg", said his athletic sponsor Sue de la Porte, via News 24.

While others suggested the attack could have been carried out in the name of "muti", a term for traditional medicine found in South Africa. They also believe Gwala will walk and run again, but he faces a lengthy recovery.

"They kept on cutting and when they got to the bone, because the saw was not that sharp, the saw got stuck", Shange continued. "We are a little bit confused, we don't know who is behind everything". Absolutely disgusting! How safe are we on SA roads?

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