South African triathlete Mhlengi Gwala has reportedly been attacked while training by three men attempting to cut off his legs with a saw.
Gwala's training partner Sandile Shange told the BBC the 26-year-old is stable in hospital and his injuries are not life-threatening.
The attack reportedly happened in the early hours of Tuesday in Durban while Gwala was on a training ride.
Police said the attackers pulled Gwala off his bike as he was going up a steep hill in Durban and sawed into his right calf with a blunt saw, damaging muscle, nerves and bone.
They then sawed into his left leg before fleeing.
Police spokesperson Nqobile Gwala said a case of attempted murder is being investigated.
"He thought they were coming to rob him, stopped and gave them his phone but they didn't want his phone, didn't want his watch or bicycle," Shange said.
"They dragged him to the side of the road to some bushes, took a saw and started cutting his legs.
"They kept on cutting and when they got to the bone, because the saw was not that sharp, the saw got stuck. When they saw it was getting stuck they started on the other leg."
South African Olympic triathlon bronze medallist Henri Schoeman called the incident "disgusting" on Twitter.
Gwala was due to compete in the South African national championships this month.
"When he spoke to doctors they said they will be able to save his leg and he will be able to walk and run again but it is a long walk to recovery," Shange said.