Men try to cut off triathlete's legs during training in South Africa

Men try to cut off triathlete's legs during training in South Africa

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

A promising South African triathlete almost lost his leg after he was attacked with a chainsaw in Durban.

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

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 vehicle to take him to a hospital.

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.

Gwala was taken to a hospital when found on the side of the road by a security company. "So they manually started cutting", close personal friend Sandile Shange told News24.

More news: Rose Dream Big At $10m WGC-Mexico Championship

Several attackers pulled Gwala off his bicycle as he cycled up a steep hill and sawed into his right calf, damaging muscle, nerves and bone, according to Jackson, who spoke by phone to the triathlete about the ordeal.

Gwala's athletic sponsor Sue de la Porte confirmed that the initial motive for the attack appeared to be robbery. They missed a main artery.

Gwala's ordeal is eerily similar to the 1994 beating of Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, whose leg was nearly broken by Tonya Harding's husband - an attack that left other athletes reeling.

"I haven't quite got to grips with exactly what happened", Jackson told TimesLIVE.

Gwala has represented South Africa at global competitions in Chicago in 2015 and in the Netherlands past year. We don't know yet how far they went in.

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