South African athlete vows to continue triathlons after having gang try and saw off his legs

Doctors are hoping they will be able to save Mhlengi Gwala's legs

Jack Austin
Saturday 10 March 2018 11:47
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Mhlengi Gwala had both legs cut into before managing to escape
Mhlengi Gwala had both legs cut into before managing to escape

A South African athlete who was attacked by a gang who tried to saw his legs off while he was training this week has said he wants to return to competitive triathletes as soon as he recovers.

Mhlengi Gwala was attacked and dragged into some bushes in the early hours of Tuesday morning while cycling in Durban, with the gang members trying to cut his legs off below the knees before he managed to escape and crawl to the road for aid.

A crowdfunding page set up for him to cover his medical bills and rehabilitation costs and has so far garnered more than £39,000.

Gwala spoke to the BBC from his hospital bed for the first time and described the horrific ordeal after the attack at gunpoint.

“Then they start the chainsaw,” he told the BBC. “One man was holding my back, and another was holding my legs. And the other one cuts in [with the chainsaw].

“So I crawled to the road and then I stopped a car, and that car took me to hospital.”

The motive for the attack is still unclear and his phone, money and bicycle were not stolen during the attack.

Surgeons who operated on Gwala are hoping to save his legs but are concerned about the level of nerve damage that has been sustained, although the triathlete has vowed to continue once he returns to full fitness.

“People all over the world are praying for me... I'll carry on.”

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