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South African triathlete the victim of horrific sawing attack

Mhlengi Gwala is recovering in hospital with non life threatening injuries, his training partner says

Mhlengi Gwala

IRONMAN South Africa is saddened to hear about the incident that took place in Durban to Mhlengi Gwala while training. We send best wishes and a speedy recovery.

Posted by IRONMAN South Africa on Wednesday, March 7, 2018

South African triathlete Mhlengi Gwala was horrifically attacked while cycling to a training session in Durban, the Associated Press reports.

In the early morning hours of March 6, the 27-year-old (the BBC reports he’s 26 while the AP reports his age to be 27) was pulled from his bike by three assailants who began to saw into the multi-sport athlete’s legs. Sandile Shange, a training partner of Gwala’s, told the BBC that Gwala is in hospital and his injuries are not life threatening.

The BBC reports that Gwala thought the three men were trying to rob him so he offered the attackers his wallet, phone, watch and bicycle. Soon after being dragged off his bike, Gwala was pulled into the brush and the attackers began cutting into his legs, his calf on both legs specifically, with a “blunt saw,” the AP reports. ESPN reports the weapon was a chainsaw.


“Absolutely disgusting! How safe are we on SA roads?” Olympic bronze medallist in the triathlon Henri Schoeman wrote on Twitter.

When the attackers reached bone, and were unable to continue because of the blunt blade, they fled, allowing Gwala to crawl back to the road where he was able to flag down a vehicle and be transported to hospital. The AP reports that doctors are confident his legs can be saved.


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The BBC reports that Gwala was training to compete at the national championships at the end of March.