Attackers try to saw off South African athlete's legs

Tricia Pearson
March 8, 2018

Mhlengi Gwala, a South African triathlete, was attacked with a saw early Tuesday, when three men allegedly attempted to cut off his legs, the BBC News reported.

A top South African triathlete was out training when he was suddenly attacked by three men who tried to cut his legs off with a saw. The athlete had offered his cell phone, wallet and bicycle to the assailants, who still went for his legs and were speaking in a language that Gwala could not understand, Jackson said.

Jackson said Gwala told him that the attackers sawed into his right calf (with a boring blade), damaging muscle, nerves and bone. They had a chainsaw and went for one of his legs‚ which is the concerning part.

Mhlengi Gwala previously represented South Africa at global competitions in Chicago and the Netherlands in 2015 and 2017 respectively. 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 auto to take him to a hospital.

"A case of attempted murder was opened at Umbilo police station for investigation". "When they saw it was getting stuck they started on the other leg", Shange continued.

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Gwala's legs were X-rayed and he is scheduled for an operation on Wednesday.

Jackson said he would miss the South African Triathlon Champs in Bloemfontein in two weeks' time. They kept on cutting and when they got to the bone, because the saw was not that sharp, the saw got stuck.

Reportedly, doctors say Gwala will be able to walk again.

Gwala's training partner Sandile Shange told the BBC that the attackers didn't want Gwala's phone, bike or watch.

Gwala was reportedly riding his bike in Durban when the attack occurred. "We all stand behind you and support you as we need to make cycling safer on the roads in South Africa!"

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