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75-year-old Gough wins squash world title
by Greg Oshust
July 31, 2014 09:17 AM | 1677 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Special Photo / Buckhead resident Michael Gough, center, won the men's 75-and-over age group at the World Masters Sqaush Championships in Hong Kong July 4 through 11. Gough is shown with fellow metro Atlanta competitors William Cloherty, left, and Tom Rumpler, right.
Special Photo / Buckhead resident Michael Gough, center, won the men's 75-and-over age group at the World Masters Sqaush Championships in Hong Kong July 4 through 11. Gough is shown with fellow metro Atlanta competitors William Cloherty, left, and Tom Rumpler, right.
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Most athletes’ careers are long finished by the time they reach their 70s.

However, Michael Gough is just getting started.

The 75-year-old Buckhead resident, a native of England, has established himself as the best squash player in the world in his age group.

Gough achieved the lofty status by winning the 75-and-over division at the World Masters Squash Championship in Hong Kong July 4 through 11.

The third time proved to be the charm for Gough, who finished third in his first two appearances in the competition, in 2010 in Cologne, Germany, and in 2012 in Birmingham, England.

“It was huge,” Gough said. “I have been training extremely hard for several years to try to win it and I finally did.”

Playing in the 70-74 age group in the 2010 and 2012 World Masters tournaments, Gough hit his stride in the 75-and-over division in this year’s edition.

Gough, who had a first-round bye as the 3/4 seed, defeated 5/8 seed Malcolm Gilham of England 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-3 in the finals after beating top-seeded Brian Phillips of Wales 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 in the semifinals, 5/8 seed John Preston of England 11-6, 11-6, 11-6 in the quarterfinals and unseeded Derick Patterson of Ireland 12-10, 11-4, 11-7 in the second round.

“I played very well to beat the No. 1 seed in the semifinals,” Gough said. “In the finals, I played very well until the middle of the third game. I was winning, but [Gilham] came back and it was the middle of the fourth game before I was able to start concentrating again. I began to run away with it and I concentrated very hard.”

Gough played for high school teams in both squash and tennis in the London area before giving up squash to focus primarily on tennis after graduation.

Gough, who moved to Atlanta 35 years ago, began to play squash again at age 50 in 1989.

“I was playing in an ALTA tennis match and it was pouring rain,” he said. “I went inside the clubhouse and saw some people playing squash and realized they had it in Atlanta, so I started playing again.”

He began playing tournaments 10 years ago and has established himself as an elite player in master squash with five U.S. national championships — 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010 — and a runner-up finish in the British Open in 2010.

For Gough, his conditioning is the key to his success on the squash court.

“I work out a lot,” Gough said. “I play about three or four times a week and work out about six times a week. So I’m probably a little fitter than most [of my opponents].”



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