By Mark Etheridge
South African sport suffered a body blow this week with the gruesome news that triathlete Mhlengi Gwala had been severely injured in a chainsaw attack while training in Durban.
Gala, who turns 27 next month, was attacked while out on an early morning cycle ride near the University of KwaZulu-Natal when he was attacked by three assailants.
It’s alleged the assailants tried to cut off first one leg then the other with a chainsaw.
This was despite offering to hand over the personal possessions he had with him.
Gwala, who has represented South Africa at national age-group level, underwent a five-hour operation and is recovering in hospital.
Fellow triathlete and Rio Olympics bronze medallist Henri Schoeman took to Twitter to express his shock.
‘A friend of mine, cycling in the Durban area was robbed by three people this morning, Then they attempted to saw off both legs with a chainsaw. Blade too blunt and only got half way through one and started on the other. Absolutely disgusting! How safe are we on SA roads?’
Also offering his condolences was Lindsey Parry, who will act as triathlon coach for Team South Africa at next month’s Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.
‘I was shocked to heat that another athlete has been attacked while out training. This incident is particularly brutal and it’s hard to comprehend how human beings can do this to each other.
‘We wish Mhlengi all the best as he faces a long road to recovery.’
Picture of Gwala courtesy of Backpagepix