Robbers try to cut off SA triathlete's leg with chainsaw

Robbers try to cut off SA triathlete's leg with chainsaw

Gwala, who has competed in two worldwide triathlons, was rushed to the Albert Luthuli Hospital in a serious condition.

According to the Sunday Times, Gwala, 27, was training on a training ride near the University of KwaZulu-Nata outside the city Durban on Tuesday when a group of three men grabbed him off his bike, pulled him into some nearby bushes, and apparently tried to cut off his legs with a chainsaw.

The country's athletic director, Dennis Jackson, told the Associated Press that the attackers sawed into Gwala's right leg, damaging muscle, nerve and bone.

Police representative Nqobile Gwala told the BBC News that the case is being investigated as an attempted murder.

It was then that they took a saw and began to cut his legs.

"The doctor says the blood flow is good, the only problem is with his tendons", said Gwala's friend and training partner Sandile Shange. He said the saw missed a main artery and that surgeons are confident they can save the leg.

Triathlete Mhlengi Gwala (26) reportedly offered his attackers his cellphone and money, but they pushed him down and tried to hack off his legs with a blunt chainsaw.

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.

"I have never heard of any enemies that he may have", said Jackson, via AP.

Jackson said the attackers also started sawing his left leg before stopping and fleeing. "He is a wonderful ambassador for the sport".

South African Olympic triathlon bronze medallist Henri Schoeman called the incident "disgusting" on Twitter.

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