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South African athlete hurt in saw attack faces long recovery

March 9, 2018

South African triathlete Mhlengi Gwala recovers from surgery in his hospital bed in Durban, South Africa, Friday, March 9, 2018. Gwala, who suffered severe injuries when attackers cut his legs with a saw, says he will focus on recovery so he can run and cycle again. (AP Photo/Khaya Ngwenya)

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A plastic surgeon in South Africa says he doubts that a triathlete who suffered severe leg injuries after men attacked him with a saw will be able to compete “in the near future.”

Dr. O’Sharran Singh told journalists Friday that it is unlikely Mhlengi Gwala will be able to “function at a competitive level” for one to two years and that his progress will be assessed every few months. He says Gwala is in stable condition and is not at risk of losing the leg that was injured most severely.

Gwala says he was attacked and pulled off his bicycle while training early Tuesday in the coastal city of Durban. He had surgery on Wednesday and says he wants to run and cycle again.

The motive for the attack is unclear.

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