Human Performance Institute Media Release
SA champion Gwala holds Tokyo
Durban – South African and Elite Athlete Development Programme
para triathlete Mhlengi Gwala’s recent triumph at the SA Para
Triathlon Championships in Bloemfontein has ignited an ambition
of competing at the 2021 Paralympic Games in Tokyo later this
The event at Maselspoort recently has given Gwala the motivation
that he has been seeking in trying to train and race his way to
enough points to secure qualification to the showpiece event in
Gwala, who was the victim of a vicious attack and robbery in 2018
that resulted in severe injuries, had to have his damaged right
leg amputated from the knee down in August 2020. This has meant
that the resilient star has had to change racing categories.
“I am now racing the TPS 4 category after my amputation and the
toughest part has been the cycling,” Gwala said. “I did find
initially that during my swimming my left shoulder would get sore
but I’ve managed to get used to my swimming stroke now.
“I have found my running is still strong but I have a lot of work
to do on the bike and it’s good that I know where I have to put
in the hard work.”
Gwala found the initial transition onto his prosthetic difficult
but after a month he was used to it and felt that it hadn’t
hampered his running.
“If I look at my times now compared to my times last year on the
run they are the same and that is after just three months of
training so I will get better.
“My swim has improved as well so I am happy that I am getting
Gwala won his category at the recent SA Para Triathlon
Championships in the Free State and finished second overall. The
result in tough conditions has given him confidence as he looks
to head overseas to compete for a spot in Tokyo.
“If we can get the funding together I am hoping to race in Egypt
in June and then go to Europe to race.
“I need to get enough points through racing to qualify for the
Paralympic Games but the cost of getting to Europe to compete is
big so we are trying to raise money to get overseas.
“Qualification for triathlon doesn’t work on times, it works on
points and in order to get those points I need to be racing,” he
With just five months until the start of the Paralympic Games in
Japan, Gwala understands the restricted time-frame and also has
an eye beyond the Games this year.
“If I cannot qualify for Tokyo then I will be concentrating on
the Commonwealth Games in the UK in 2022.
“That’s going to be the focus for me and then obviously looking
towards the Paralympic Games in Paris in 2024,” Gwala commented.
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Mhlengi Gwala used the recent South African Triathlon
Championships as an opportunity to race ahead of his bid to
qualify for the Tokyo Paralympic Games in August.
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