In­jured triath­lete has pins re­moved

The Mercury - - NEWS - Nosipho Mn­goma

TRIATH­LETE Mh­lengi Gwala, 26, is back in hos­pi­tal, but only to have metal rods re­moved as he con­tin­ues on the road to re­cov­ery.

Gwala was hos­pi­talised for three weeks af­ter a brutal at­tack in which un­known as­sailants tried to hack off his legs with a saw.

Since be­ing dis­charged in March, Gwala has been at­tend­ing phys­io­ther­apy twice a week.

“I’m feel­ing strong and still get­ting a lot of sup­port,” he said yes­ter­day.

Dur­ing the dark­est mo­ments, Gwala said think­ing of his two chil­dren got him through the day.

“I told my­self I have to be there for them as a fa­ther and a role model, so I never gave up, I pushed through the pain.”

His friends and fam­ily have been his pil­lar of strength, and he had been over­whelmed by the sup­port of the sport­ing fra­ter­nity, par­tic­u­larly triath­letes, as well as com­plete strangers.

Thou­sands of peo­ple had writ­ten well-wishes and do­nated more than R770 000 to help “Get Mh­lengi back on his bike”. The fund-rais­ing ef­fort on crowd­fund­ing web­site Back­ABuddy has a target of R850 000.

He said he chose to not think too much about the as­sault.

“I now go out to watch races, just to get my mind back in that zone. I can imag­ine my­self on a bike again, and it will hap­pen,” said Gwala.

Police had yet to make any ar­rests, but the in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­tin­ued, said spokesper­son Cap­tain Nqo­bile Gwala.

MH­LENGI GWALA

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