Doctors can save Durban triathlete’s legs

2018-03-07 18:00
Mhlengi Gwala. (Image via MRP Foundation)

Mhlengi Gwala. (Image via MRP Foundation)

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Doctors are certain they will be able to save Mhlengi Gwala’s leg, a sports professional close to the triathlete says.

Mhlengi (26) was attacked by a group of three men who attempted to cut his legs off with a chainsaw.

The triathlete was out training on his bike at 03.15 yesterday morning near the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban when three men approached him and forced him off his bike. They dragged him into the bushes and tried cutting off his legs with a chainsaw.

Mhlengi has now been transferred from Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital in Durban to a private hospital in the province where he is undergoing surgery to save his leg.

The operation will likely take the entire afternoon.

Dennis Jackson – a biokineticist and prime director at the Prime Human Performance Institute in Durban where Mhlengi was part of an elite athlete development programme – says the surgeons were confident that they’d be able to save Mhlengi’s leg.

Dennis heard about the horrific incident after coming out of an early morning meeting. He last spoke to Mhlengi in hospital over the phone.

“He was in shock and disbelief but he was fine, he could communicate and give us the facts,” Jackson told YOU.

“He was also sad and worried but at the same time, he’s strong and pulling through.”

Jackson says Mhlengi has been with the institute since its inception in 2014.

“He’s consistently produced results – he’s certainly one of the most promising young triathletes in the country,” Jackson says.

“At this point, the surgery is all-important. Thereafter, it’ll be a long process. From our side we hope to get him the best [treatment] he can get.”

Jackson says Mhlengi has endured many hardships.

“He’s come from a lot. He’s a very strong-minded person. His history is one where he had to fight against the odds – he taught himself to swim, taught himself to do triathlons, he’ll get through, and he’ll come back,” Jackson says. “It’s a massive shock to everyone at the institute.”

He says Mhlengi was one of the regular faces at the institute and the athletes had become a close-knit family.

On social media, fellow athlete Henri Schoeman tweeted his message of support ahead of Mhlengi’s operation.


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