Triathlete Has Legs Nearly Sawed Off In Mysterious Attack While Training

Brenda Watkins
March 9, 2018

Gwala became an athlete after overcoming drug and alcohol addictions, representing South Africa at global competitions in Chicago in 2015 and in the Netherlands a year ago, Mr Jackson said.

South African sport suffered a body blow this week with the gruesome news that triathlete Mhlengi Gwala had been severely injured in a chainsaw attack while training in Durban.

South African Olympic triathlon bronze medallist Henri Schoeman called the incident "disgusting" on Twitter.

Gwala, 26, underwent leg surgery in Durban on Wednesday, after he was attacked with a chainsaw on Tuesday.

His friend and training partner, Sandile Shange said the operation had been a success. They were cutting one foot, he was fighting and screaming, and when they got to the bone they got stuck. But the attack escalated, and De la Porte told News24: "He tried offering them his cellphone and money, but they pinned him down and tried to saw off his leg".

"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", Shange said. They instead dragged him to the side of the road into nearby bushes.

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"He just wanted it to stop".

KwaZulu-Natal police are investigating.

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. "They were speaking something else".

A senior coach raised the prospect that Mhlengi Gwala, 27, was targeted because of his athletic status.

The men were just starting on the other leg, his left, when they were interrupted by a security guard with a flashlight. Doctors believe they can save the leg that took the brunt of the punishment, AP reported. "He probably won't be able to compete in his upcoming event".

There's been an outpouring of support for the triathlete on social media, with many speculating about the possible motive after Gwala's attackers did not take any valuables.

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