Triathlete Has Legs Nearly Sawed Off In Mysterious Attack While Training

South African triathlete Mhlengi Gwala 27 was out cycling when three men attacked him and attempted to saw off his legs

A promising South African triathlete almost lost his leg after he was attacked with a chainsaw in Durban.

Triathlete Henry Schoemen, who won bronze for South Africa at the Rio Olympics in 2016, called the attack on Gwala "disgusting".

The attack reportedly commenced in the early hours of Tuesday morning while Gwala partook in a training ride in Durban. 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 vehicle to take him to a hospital.

Gwala was expected to compete in the South African national championship later this month. Director of the Elite Athlete Development Programme which Gwala is part of, Dennis Jackson, told TimesLive that the motive is a mystery. They missed a main artery and surgeons are confident they can save the leg, Jackson said.

Jackson said the attackers also started sawing his left leg before stopping and fleeing.

The athlete's training partner Sandile Shange has told the BBC that Gwala had been involved in a potentially-fatal attack involving a chainsaw and an attempt at amputating his prized set of limbs.

Whatever the reason for the weird attack, it sounds like Gwala will be okay in time. Doctors believe they can save the leg that took the brunt of the punishment, AP reported.

"I have never heard of any enemies that he may have", Jackson said, according to The Guardian. "We all stand behind you and support you as we need to make cycling safer on the roads in South Africa!" They then started on the other one. A South African triathlete was reportedly attacked with a chainsaw on Tuesday (Mar. 6).

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

The incident was confirmed on Twitter by Gwala's fellow athlete, Henri Schoeman.



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