JOHANNESBURG -- A South African triathlete who suffered severe leg injuries when attackers cut his legs with a saw says he will focus on recovery so he can run and cycle again.

Athlete Mhlengi Gwala on Thursday told News24 media that he panicked when several attackers pulled him off his bicycle and started cutting his leg, manually using the blade of a chainsaw after it malfunctioned.

Gwala, who says he was training before dawn on Tuesday when the attack happened, had surgery on Wednesday in the city of Durban. He says he doesn't know why he was attacked and that a doctor told him that the recovery will take six months, according to News24.

Police say they have opened a case of attempted murder and that no arrests have been made.