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

by Doug Gray on 21 Oct, 2019 09:46
South Africa's Mhlengi Gwala competes in first Para World Cup in Funchal

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

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Related Event: 2019 Funchal ITU Paratriathlon World Cup
19 - 20 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
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
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
Results: PTS4 Women
1. Kelly Elmlinger USA 01:17:16
2. Svetlana Karama RUS 01:37:25
Results: PTS5 Men
1. Carlos Rafael Viana BRA 01:00:25
2. Guenther Matzinger AUT 01:00:54
3. Ronan Cordeiro BRA 01:01:15
4. Aleksandr Konyshev RUS 01:01:39
5. Filipe Marques POR 01:03:14
Results: PTS5 Women
1. Gwladys Lemoussu FRA 01:14:43
2. Anna Bychkova RUS 01:18:07
3. Petra Lévay HUN 01:18:16
Results: PTVI Men
1. Dave Ellis B3 GBR 01:04:28
2. Antoine Perel B1 FRA 01:05:24
3. Lazar Filipovic B2 SRB 01:05:50
4. Satoru Yoneoka B1 JPN 01:06:01
5. Anatolii Varfolomieiev B1 UKR 01:06:34
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