Gwala‚ who has been part of the programme for four years‚ has represented South Africa twice in global triathlons.
South African triathlete Mhlengi Gwala is undergoing surgery after three men reportedly attempted to cut off his legs with a chainsaw.
Jackson said Gwala told him that the attackers sawed into his right calf (with a boring blade), damaging muscle, nerves and bone.
Local police are reportedly investigating the matter as an attempted murder. Soon after being dragged off his bike, Gwala was pulled into the brush and the attackers began cutting into his legs, his calf on both legs specifically, with a "blunt saw", the AP reports.
Surgeons are confident that they can save Gwala's leg.
"They took the chainsaw, which they were not using electrically, but manually".
Gert Oosthuizen, the deputy sports minister for South Africa, has already spoken out about the attack, calling it a "totally unacceptable" assault on a "star athlete" of the country. They kept on cutting and when they got to the bone, because the saw was not that sharp, the saw got stuck.
Gwala was taken to a hospital when found on the side of the road by a security company. He became an athlete after overcoming drug and alcohol addictions, Jackson said.
A top South African triathlete was out training when he was suddenly attacked by three men who tried to cut his legs off with a saw.
The motive for the horrendous attack is unknown at this point, as is Gwala's medical prognosis.
"I haven't quite got to grips with exactly what happened", Jackson told TimesLIVE. "We are a little bit confused, we don't know who is behind everything".