From athlete with nearly sawed off leg to doping suspension; the bizarre story of Mhlengi Gwala

Mhlengi Gwala after his win at the 2022 Europe Triathlon Cup Bari (Picture: World Triathlon)

South African para-triathlete Mhlengi Gwala has had an eventful life, to say the least; while in 2018 he was world news because he was attacked with a chainsaw during training – and nearly losing his leg – he is now in the news all over once again. In fact, he has been suspended for 11 months for using banned substances. Yet again he is particularly unlucky, as a contaminated food supplement is said to be the cause of the positive doping test.

World Triathlon suspended Gwala for 11 months after he tested positive at a control during the Europe Triathlon Cup in Bari on Sept. 18, 2022. Gwala tested positive for the banned drug GW1516, also known as cardarin or endurobol, a drug for diabetics that causes the body to metabolize fat differently. Mhlengi Gwala argued that the positive test came from a contaminated dietary supplement. After investigation, World Triathlon came to the same conclusion, but it still imposed an 11-month retroactive suspension on the South African athlete.