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HE Ambassador Mahash Saeed Alhameli pays a visit to recovering South African Athlete

10 March 2018

On Tuesday, 6 March 2018, news reports emerged of a violent attack on one of South Africa’s budding athletic champions, Mhlengi Gwala. Gwala was attacked by a group of men in the KwaZulu Natal province while training during the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Gwala was born in 1991 in the city of Durban. He is a triathlete, who has competed internationally since 2015 and has participated in various events, including:
• The 2015 International Triathlon Union Aquathlon World Championship (Chicago)
• The 2015 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final (Chicago)
• The 2017 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final (Rotterdam)

Triathletes compete in triathlons which are multi-stage, multi-discipline competitions typically involving running, swimming and cycling in one race. Triathletes compete for the fastest overall course completion time. Athletes competing in this endurance sport require a high degree of discipline and skill in all three areas and spend a number of years in training to reach the physical and mental fitness required to compete.

This young star had planned to compete in an international event later this month but was not able to due to the attack. Gwala is, however, optimistic and hopes to still compete in the Ironman 70.3 contest to be held in Dubai in January next year. Gwala has undergone surgery following Tuesday’s attack and will undergo a further operation on Monday, 12 March.

Doctors are hopeful that he will make a complete recovery.

The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Pretoria received the news of the attack on Gwala with great sadness and strongly condemned the incident. On Saturday, 10 March, the UAE Ambassador to South Africa, His Excellency Mahash Saeed Alhameli visited the triathlete at the St. Augustine Hospital in Durban to offer the support of the Embassy and the UAE to Gwala and his family. A donation of R200,000 was pledged towards the triathlete’s medical expenses.

The United Arab Emirates and the Republic of South Africa have a longstanding relationship built on friendship and mutual respect. The UAE views sport as one of the unifying elements in international cooperation. The country maintains that sport has the ability to bring together nations and their societies in a way that transcends national, racial, religious and linguistic lines. The UAE thus holds sportsmen and sportswomen in the highest regard.

The support offered to Gwala was in line with the 2018 Year of Zayed celebrations which is focused on humanitarian initiatives, to be implemented globally in commemoration of the late founding father of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in SA



February/March 2020











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