South African triathlete Mhlengi Gwala in hospital after attack with saw

Mar 08, 2018, 01:24
South African triathlete Mhlengi Gwala in hospital after attack with saw

A triathlete was attacked on the side of the road in Durban, South Africa, Tuesday by three people who almost cut his legs off with a chainsaw. Mhlengi Gwala, 26, had been cycling along Francois Road, near the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) when he was accosted by the men.

South African Olympic triathlon bronze medallist Henri Schoeman took to Twitter to condemn the attack and wish Gwala a speedy recovery.

The assailants began cutting into Gwala's left leg before they fled, allowing the athlete to crawl to a road and flag a passing vehicle. "The surgeons are confident", Dennis Jackson, head of South Africa's Elite Athlete Development Programme, told AFP. Then they attempted to saw off both legs with a chainsaw.

Mhlengi Gwala previously represented South Africa at global competitions in Chicago and the Netherlands in 2015 and 2017 respectively.

"They dragged him to the side of the road to some bushes, took a saw and started cutting his legs".

Gwala's training partner Sandile Shange told the BBC that the attackers didn't want Gwala's phone, bike or watch. A South African triathlete was reportedly attacked with a chainsaw on Tuesday (Mar. 6).

"A case of attempted murder was opened at Umbilo police station for investigation".

Gwala was able to drag himself to a road where he was able to get help. They were cutting one foot, he was fighting and screaming, and when they got to the bone they got stuck.

Reportedly, doctors say Gwala will be able to walk again.

"We don't yet know how far they went in‚ whether they were trying to cut it off‚ or what the circumstances are".

Gwala's ordeal is eerily similar to the 1994 beating of Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, whose leg was nearly broken by Tonya Harding's husband - an attack that left other athletes reeling.

Durban is located on South Africa's coast.