South African triathlete Mhlengi Gwala will undergo leg surgery after a brutal chainsaw attack in Durban on Tuesday, reported Times Live ().
The 27-year-old was attacked by chainsaw-wielding criminals as he was training near the University of KwaZulu.
We are deeply saddened & shocked by the horrific attack today on one of our competitors. @MhlengiGwala was on his bike to work when he was robbed of his bike & attempted to amputate his legs. Our thoughts & prayers go to Mhlengi and his family. pic.twitter.com/noNKP6JDJj— Durban Ultra Tri (@DBNUltra) 6 March 2018
Atrocious unprovoked attack on Gwala
While training on his bike at around 03:15, Gwala was approached by three men who dragged him into the surrounding bushes, his athletic sponsor Sue de la Porte said.
'He tried offering them his cellphone and money, but they pinned him down and tried to saw off his leg,' said De la Porte.
'He is very badly injured. We've just spoken to the plastic surgeon and he is currently in the surgical ward.'
After struggling, the triathlete managed to drag himself to safety.
Henri Schoeman, fellow triathlete and friend of Gwala, shared the story on his Twitter account.
A friend of mine, cycling in the Durban area was robbed by three people this morning, Then they attempted to saw off both legs with a chainsaw. Blade too blunt and only got half way through one and started on the other. Absolutely disgusting! How safe are we on SA roads?— Henri Schoeman (@H_Schoeman) 6 March 2018
Motive remains a mystery
According to Dennis Jackson, director of the Elite Athlete Development Programm – which Gwala is part of – the motive of the attack remains a mystery.
“I haven’t quite got to grips with exactly what happened. It seems like they pulled him into a bush while he was on a training ride. They had a chainsaw and went for one of his legs‚ which is the concerning part.
”We don’t yet know how far they went in‚ whether they were trying to cut it off‚ or what the circumstances are. All we know is that Mhlengi is alive‚ he is talking and that he is under medical care.
“We don’t have the whole story as yet.'
Gwala part of Elite Athlete Development Program
Gwala has been part of the Elite Athlete Development Program for four years and has twice represented South Africa in international competitions.
Due to the injuries he sustains, the 27-year-old will be forced to miss the South African Triathlon Champs later this month.