South African Triathlete Attacked with Chainsaw Tried Hacking His Legs Off

Mhlengi Gwala was riding near the University of KwaZulu-Natal when he was attacked

Dennis Jackson‚ director of the Elite Athlete Development programme, of which Mr Gwala is part, said it was "bizarre", even in the context...

Police are investigating the case as attempted murder, according to the BBC.

Surgeons are confident that they can save Gwala's leg.

He reportedly said Gwala is none the wiser as to why the attackers left.

"Mhlengi doesn't know why they left".

The men reportedly were interrupted by a security guard and ran away - allowing the bloody athlete to crawl to a road and flag down a auto to take him to the hospital. "What the damage to his leg is‚ we will know in the next few days I guess‚" Jackson added.

A personal message to the athlete has been shared on Facebook by Nathalie Asensi-Verdu Crawford.

Gwala's athletic sponsor Sue de la Porte confirmed that the initial motive for the attack appeared to be robbery. 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. Jackson said. "From what we understand‚ he is in a cast". They then started on the other one. "We are a little bit confused, we don't know who is behind everything". 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 yet".

A crowdfunding initiative was announced on the Ironman South Africa Facebook page‚ as the organisation expressed its sadness at the attack on the triathlete‚ while sending him "best wishes and a speedy recovery".

Gwala is a strong contender for the race which is a 40k cycle, 10k run and 1.7k swim.

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