South African doctors were trying to save the legs of a top triathlete Wednesday after three men tried to chop his limbs off with a chainsaw.
It is alleged that the men dragged Gwala into a secluded pathway near UKZN, where they held him down and tried to saw off his leg.
Mhlengi Gwala, 27, was biking to a training session before dawn Tuesday when the attackers pulled him off his bike, dragged him into bushes and started sawing into his right calf, damaging muscle, nerves and bone.
Gwala's training partner Sandile Shange told the BBC: "They kept on cutting and when they got to the bone, because the saw was not that sharp, the saw got stuck".
It was then that they took a saw and began to cut his legs.
Gwala competed at the 2017 worldwide world triathlon grand final in Rotterdam in September in the 25-29 male category, finishing 45th. He said the saw missed a main artery and that surgeons are confident they can save the leg.
"A case of attempted murder was opened at Umbilo police station for investigation".
Mhlengi Gwala is a South African triathlete renowned for his dextrous pair of legs that have significantly bolstered his abilities. We don't know yet how far they went in.
"They took the chainsaw, which they were not using electrically, but manually".
"Blade too blunt and only got half way through one and started on the other".
"I haven't quite got to grips with exactly what happened", Jackson said, according to TimesLive. "We all stand behind you and support you as we need to make cycling safer on the roads in South Africa!".
While others suggested the attack could have been carried out in the name of "muti", a term for traditional medicine found in South Africa.
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.