Attackers Attempt to Saw Off Legs of South African Triathlete


Twenty-six-year-old Mhlengi Gwala was on his way to a training session when several men approached him and dragged him into the bushes.

Several attackers pulled Gwala off his bicycle as he cycled up a steep hill and sawed into his right calf, damaging muscle, nerves and bone, according to Jackson, who spoke by phone to the triathlete about the ordeal.

Triathlete Henri Schoeman broke the news of the attack on his verified Twitter account and pledged his support for Gwala.

Director of the Elite Athlete Development Programme which Gwala is part of, Dennis Jackson, told TimesLive that the motive is a mystery. After the attackers fled, Gwala crawled to a road and flagged down a passing vehicle to take him to a hospital, Jackson said to the newspaper.

Gert Oosthuizen, the deputy sports minister for South Africa, has already spoken out about the attack, calling it a "totally unacceptable" assault on a "star athlete" of the country.

"What the damage is to his legs we don't know yet".

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Provincial police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said that the attack had not been reported and could not comment further on the issue.

It was then that they took a saw and began to cut his legs. "When they saw it was getting stuck they started on the other leg".

"I have never heard of any enemies that he may have", Jackson told the Associated Press. Jackson said. "From what we understand‚ he is in a cast". All we know is that Mhlengi is alive‚ he is talking and that he is under medical care.

With a promising sporting career, Gwala had already competed in two worldwide triathlons.

"How safe are we on SA roads?" Triathlons feature swimming, cycling and running.