Several members of the Galway City’s Black Dragon Kickboxing Club were caught up in a terror alert last weekend during a world championship event in Tuscany, Italy.
Black Dragon and Irish team coach, Pete Foley, said that there was ‘absolute pandemonium’ at the massive Marina Di Cararra indoor sports complex at around midday on Sunday, just before the world finals were about to start.
“I was strapping up one of our fighters, Cian McCormack, when we heard what sounded like gunshots. Then there was a lull, followed by another round of shots, and people started to run,” Pete Foley told the Galway City Tribune.
At that point, the assumption among the large crowd in the giant arena, was that a terror attack was taking place and everyone ran to exit the complex. Within seconds, said Mr Foley, there were police everywhere and the man who had, what looked like a handgun, was pinned to the ground. Shortly after, specialist police units were also at the scene.
“Police had their guns drawn and this guy could have been shot. It is hard to grasp the panic that gripped the place . . . one woman with a six-week-old baby needed help to get her infant over the exit gate . . . another mother had lost her little boy of four or five years old.
“This guy, with the gun, was taking part in some kind of staged demonstration involving the firing of blank shots into the air, but obviously the organising of the event was disastrous. No one seemed to know about it – he was lucky that he wasn’t shot dead,” said Mr Foley.
There was though good news on a number of fronts for the Black Dragon team with Whitney Sheppard, Knocknacarra; James Kelly, Athenry; Damien Creaven, Ballybrit and Alex Fitzpatrick, Tuam, all winning world titles.
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