Attackers Attempt to Saw Off Legs of South African Triathlete

Mhlengi Gwala has represented his country twice in international competitions and is tipped as a future star of the triathlon circuit

Generous South Africans are starting to dig into their own pockets to help promising triathlon competitor Mhlengi Gwala pay for the medical treatment he requires after a gruesome attack by chainsaw wielding criminals. 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.

"He thought they were coming to rob him, stopped and gave them his phone, but they didn't want his phone, didn't want his watch or bicycle", his training partner Sandile Shange told the BBC. They instead dragged him to the side of the road into nearby bushes.

Gwala competed at the 2017 global world triathlon grand final in Rotterdam in September in the 25-29 male category, finishing 45th. They missed a main artery and surgeons are confident they can save the leg, Jackson said.

Provincial police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said the attack had not yet been reported and so could not comment further on the incident.

The motive for the attack is not immediately known. Luckily, he is expected to walk again because the chainsaw the men used was reportedly too blunt to cut through his flesh and bones, according to TMZ.

"I have never heard of any enemies that he may have", Jackson said.

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 then started on the other one. "How safe are we on South Africa's roads?".

The athlete said he offered the attackers his cellphone, wallet and bike - but they still went straight for his legs and spoke a language he couldn't understand.

Gwala has represented South Africa at worldwide competitions in Chicago in 2015 and in the Netherlands past year.



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