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'So chaotic': Fight at AAU track meet scatters parents and kids; 11 suffer injuries

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GREENSBORO — A coach with the Charlotte Panthers club team was working with an athlete getting ready for the long jump when they heard screaming and saw people running at Tuesday’s AAU Junior Olympic Games.

“At that time I didn’t know what was going on, so I immediately grabbed her ... and we just took off running,” said 25-year-old K’Lynn Beal of Charlotte.

They ended up by a fence line. There, other people were tearing down a fence to get to the other side.

“It was so chaotic,” Beal said. “Kids were crying, hyperventilating.”

Amateur Athletic Union Track and Field said in a tweet Tuesday afternoon it had canceled the rest of the day’s events after a fight under the stands.

The track meet is being held at N.C. A&T’s Truist Stadium but is not a university event. Thousands of young athletes from across the country are competing at various locations in Greensboro in a variety of athletic events as part of AAU’s Junior Olympic Games.

A source with the university said they were advised three people were sent to the hospital with minor injuries. Local TV station WGHP reported 11 people in all had some type of injury. The A&T source said most were scrapes and bruises or heat-related.

AAU said on Twitter the meet was suspended, but will resume today.

The AAU Junior Olympic Games started July 26 and continue through Saturday. Most events are being held at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex.

It’s not clear what started the fight or how many people were involved. But it led to panic among those attending with some saying they’d heard a gunshot, Beal said.

Authorities told other media outlets no shots were fired.

Beal said an announcer kept asking everyone to stay calm, and to dispel rumors, the announcer said there had been a fight but not a shooting.

AAU said it will reschedule events that didn’t take place Tuesday because of the incident.

But Beal said it will be difficult for some people to stay. Some drove from other states just for one event. And those, like Beal, have to go back to work and can’t attend the rest of the meet.

“I just think it was very unfortunate because these kids have worked all summer,” she said. “I hope that the kids are able to resume and have a good rest of the week and this doesn’t throw them off.”

Contact Jennifer Fernandez at 336-373-7064.


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