South Africa’s Mhlengi Gwala competes in first Para World Cup in Funchal

By Doug Gray | 21 Oct, 2019

The victim of a vicious attack in Durban in March 2018 that almost cost him his leg, former South African Age-Group athlete Mhlengi Gwala‘s inspirational story of recovery from adversity continued at the weekend, as he raced in the PTS5 category at the 2019 Funchal Paratriathlon World Cup. His first experience racing at that level was an eye-opener, but has given him plenty of food for thought as he returns home to train and prepare for the 2020 season.

“It was a very hard race for me,” admitted Gwala, “the guys were so fast and I didn’t have a good race. Now i need to go home and work hard on my training, but it was a good experience. I know what I need to do next time.”

Home for the 28-year-old is the KwaZulu-Natal province on South Africa’s east coast. Taken to hospital after the incident that happened while out bike training, it was compatriot Henri Schoeman among the members of the triathlon family to help spread the word of Mhlengi’s plight, Schoeman’s appeal on social media receiving support from around the world.

As a 25-29 Age-Grouper at the 2017 Rotterdam Grand Final six months beforehand, Mhlengi Gwala had recorded the 13th fastest split for the 10km run at 34m25s. Once surgery was finalised on his horrific leg injury, he knew that it was always likely to be running that would present the biggest challenge to get back to anywhere near his previous level.

After a provisional PTS5 classification for Funchal, the coming months and the start of next season will be hugely important for shaping Gwala’s paratriathlon career. “The swim is okay and the bike is okay, but I have to land on the heel more because I can feel the strength isn’t there when I am running, i’m always testing it,” he told ITU earlier this year. “Of course my dream now is to reach Tokyo 2020. It is every athlete’s dream to compete at that level.”

See all of the Funchal Paratriathlon World Cup results here


Related Event: 2019 Funchal ITU Paratriathlon World Cup
19 - Oct, 2019 • event pageall results
Results: PTWC Men
1. Florian Brungraber H2 AUT 01:05:38
2. Benjamin Lenatz H1 GER 01:06:42
3. Pier Alberto Buccoliero H2 ITA 01:12:40
4. Fernando Aranha H2 BRA 01:13:35
5. Joshua Landmann H2 GBR 01:18:30
6. Howie Sanborn H1 USA 01:28:41
Results: PTWC Women
1. Eva María Moral Pedrero H1 ESP 01:18:09
2. Jessica Ferreira H1 BRA 01:19:28
3. Christiane Reppe H2 GER 01:19:50
4. Margret Ijdema H1 NED 01:20:30
5. Mona Francis H2 FRA 01:23:24
6. Brenda Osnaya Alvarez H1 MEX 01:25:04
7. Leanne Taylor H1 CAN 01:36:43
8. Mary Catherine Callahan H1 USA 01:37:35
Results: PTS2 Men
1. Andrew Lewis GBR 01:13:55
2. Stuart Meikle GBR 01:15:18
3. Gianluca Valori ITA 01:18:58
4. Jose Joaquín Martínez Rincon ESP 01:40:02
Results: PTS2 Women
1. Melissa Stockwell USA 01:25:43
2. Veronica Yoko Plebani ITA 01:28:15
3. Cécile Saboureau FRA 01:32:35
Results: PTS3 Men
1. Daniel Molina ESP 01:10:04
2. Nico Van Der Burgt NED 01:10:32
3. Michael Herter FRA 01:19:29
4. Kini Carrasco ESP 01:27:49
5. José Mendonça POR 01:44:39
Results: PTS4 Men
1. Mikhail Kolmakov RUS 01:05:12
2. Jorge Luis Fonseca BRA 01:06:02
3. Sebastian Engwald Jensen DEN 01:06:33
4. Eric McElvenny USA 01:08:10
5. Hávard Vatnhamar DEN 01:09:19
6. Jussi Lotvonen FIN 01:09:36
7. Denis Kungurtsev RUS 01:10:22
8. Juan Jesús Aguiar ESP 01:12:38
9. Oliver Dreier AUT 01:14:26
DNF. Joel Rosinbum USA DNF