Shock after robbers try to saw off SA athlete's legs

South African triathlete Mhlengi Gwala 27 was out cycling when three men attacked him and attempted to saw off his legs

"The victim was approached by three suspects who dragged him into the bush and they tried to cut his legs and he was severely injured before going to hospital". Mhlengi Gwala, 26, had been cycling along Francois Road, near the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) when he was accosted by the men. "They dragged him to the side of the road to some bushes, took a saw and started cutting his legs", Gwala's training partner told BBC.

With a promising sporting career, Gwala had already competed in two worldwide triathlons.

Jackson said Gwala told him that the attackers sawed into his right calf (with a boring blade), damaging muscle, nerves and bone. They missed a main artery and surgeons are confident they can save the leg, Jackson said. 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.

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

Mhlengi Gwala is expected to recover after he was attacked by three assailants in the early hours of March 6, 2018 in Durban, South Africa. Doctors believe they can save the leg that took the brunt of the punishment, AP reported. They had a chainsaw and went for one of his legs‚ which is the concerning part. They then started on the other one.

"I haven't quite got to grips with exactly what happened", Jackson said, according to TimesLive.

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South Africa suffers some of the world's highest crime rates, and saw 34 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in the 2015-2016 period, said police.

The lack of a robbery motive is seen by his friend as a deliberate attack to cripple him before the national championships in 10 days time at Bloemfontein, South Africa.

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