(ESPN) – South African triathlete Mhlengi Gwala is recovering in hospital after a roadside attack left him seriously injured, as unknown assailants seemingly attempted to hack off his legs with a nearly-blunt saw on Tuesday.

Gwala was on a training ride on his bicycle before dawn in the coastal city of Durban when he was dragged off the road by three attackers, and they attempted to cut off his legs with a dull blade.

Jackson said Gwala told him that the attackers sawed into his right calf, damaging muscle, nerves and bone. They missed a main artery, and surgeons are confident they can save the leg, Jackson said.

Jackson said 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.

Uh what? Pretty gruesome stuff out of South Africa. I mean how the fuck does this happen? I don’t mean that in a logistical way–I can physically see how a group of attackers can drag a man from his bike and try to cut his legs off. But in a “who the hell would do this and why” perspective, I’m just stumped.

Do you think this is the South African version of Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan? Are we going to find out in a few months that the assailants were hired by a jealous teammate’s ex-husband and self-appointed bodyguard and then years later, an Oscar-nominated movie will come out telling their side? I, for one, sure hope that is the case because when it comes to sabotaging your teammate, its a game of one-upsmanship. Oh a pipe to the knee that didn’t even break the leg? Hold my Umqombothi, which, as we all know, is a very popular corn-based South African beer.

Mmm tasty!

Whatever the reason, one thing remains clear: these attackers suck. If you’re going to go after someone’s leg with a saw, you gotta come out successful. The real point of contention is what kind of saw it was. Reports are initially coming out as a chainsaw but I feel like even a dull chainsaw can rip through a human leg pretty easily. Which leads me to believe it may have been a handsaw. You know how it goes–you pull the guy off his bike, start hacking away and all of the sudden, you’re exhausted.

“How could this be?” you wonder, knowing you sharpened this baby last week in preparation for the big day. I mean sure, you used it to trim some of the smaller, pesky branches of the Marula Tree in your front yard, but that shouldn’t have that big of an impact on the blade, or so the shop owner who sold it to you says.


Suddenly you remember that your neighbor’s Marula Tree was looking quite lean recently. He had complained that its wide canopy was blocking the sun, preventing his Arum Lillies from getting the proper amount of nutrition and light (we’re talking photosynthesis here). And yet this morning, you noticed the Arum Lillies were flourishing like it was mid-Spring. That son of a bitch.

Embarrassed by your dull saw and vastly underprepared cardiovascular system, you decide to cut your losses (little pun for the folks at home) and leave Gwala to fend for himself. Ultimately disappointed with your efforts and feeling vengeful, you head back home and passionately stomp on those beautiful Arum Lillies. A sad day in South Africa for sure.