Doctors are unsure if Durban triathlete Mhlengi Gwala will ever be able to take part in competitive sport again. This after attackers tried to sever both his legs with a saw on the eve of a qualifying event for the World Championships.

Specialists say it may take up to two years of rehabilitation to see if Gwala can continue with his sporting career.

Plastic surgeon O’Sharran Singh has explained that the attackers cut through 80% of the bone on one leg.

Vessels, muscles and nerves had to be reconnected in microscopic surgery, while a pin and bolt was put into the bone.

Sports Minister, Thokozile Xasa, who visited Gwala in hospital, says this attack on a promising young athlete is an embarrassment to government.

“We are sorry for what has happened because it embarrasses us as government. We want to ensure that our athletes and every South African feel safe in his or her own country. We cannot afford to have no-go areas or areas in our communities where thugs can arrive and ruin people’s lives,” says Xasa.