A crowdfunding page setup for a South African athlete who was attacked by a gang who tried to saw his legs off has raised more than £28,000 in less than 24 hours.
The fund was setup after news spread of the horrific attack on Mhlengi Gwala on Tuesday morning as he was pulled into some bushes and nearly mutilated while triathlon training in Durban.
The 27-year-old successfully underwent surgery and is said to be “blown away” by the support he has received according to his friend and training partner Sandile Shange.
“He is able to talk and is in a lot of pain understandably. He is a strong-minded person and he has been blown away by the support shown by fellow South Africans‚” said Shange.
The BackaBuddy crowdfunding page called “get Mhlengi back on his bike” was setup to help with the cost of medical bills and rehabilitation.
The motive of the attack is still unclear as multiple attackers pulled Gwala from his bicycle as he cycled up a steep hill and sawed into his right calf, damaging muscle, nerves and bone, according to Dennis Jackson, the director of the elite athlete program in KwaZulu-Natal province, who spoke by phone to the triathlete about the ordeal.
The attackers also started sawing into Gwala's left leg before fleeing, enabling the athlete to crawl to a road and flag down a passing car to take him to a hospital.
The athlete had offered his cell phone, wallet and bicycle to the assailants, who still went for his legs and were speaking in a language that Gwala could not understand.