Attackers try to hack triathlete’s leg off with chainsaw

Mhlengi Gwala
Picture: Facebook/Mhlengi Mhle Gwala

South African triathlete Mhlengi Gwala managed to drag himself to safety after he was attacked by chainsaw-wielding criminals while training in Durban yesterday.

The 27-year-old Chesterville athlete was hauled into a bushy area near the University of KwaZulu-Natal‚ where three men allegedly attempted to hack his leg with a chainsaw.

Elite Athlete Development programme director Dennis Jackson said the motive for the attack remained a mystery. Gwala is part of the programme. “We have spoken with Mhlengi. He is in hospital‚ in the trauma unit of the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital‚ awaiting transfer to another hospital,” Jackson said.

“Our sports doctor has spoken to him. He is conscious.”

Jackson said the circumstances of the attack seemed “really bizarre”.

“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 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.”

He said it was unclear why the attackers suddenly stopped and left.

“Mhlengi doesn’t know why they left. He dragged himself onto the road and a private security car picked him up and took him to the nearest hospital. From what we understand‚ he is in a cast. What the damage to his leg is‚ we will know in the next few days.”

Gwala has represented South Africa twice in international triathlons.

Jackson said Gwala would miss the South African Triathlon Championships in Bloemfontein in two weeks’ time. – TimesLIVE

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