Team USA’s Michael Gough earned his second career World Masters title and first in the 80+ division, upsetting England’s top seed Adrian Wright with an incredible comeback of six straight points from 9-5 down in the fifth on the final day of match play at the 2022 Betard WSF World Masters Championships, August 27, at Hasta la Vista in Wrowclaw, Poland.
The World Masters–the first held since the 2018 edition in Charlottesville, Virginia–brought together nearly 700 players from around the world. Twenty draws were contested over the course of the week, August 21-27, with South Africa claiming four titles and retaining the Nation’s Cup. View all results here and more tournament coverage on worldsquash.org.
More than twenty Americans and U.S. Masters champions representing their native flags made the trip to Poland, and numerous recorded top ten finishes or reached the podium.
Gough, who won the 2014 75+ title in Hong King as the 3/4 seed, entered the draw seeded second, and opened up his tournament with two pool play wins to advance to the 1-4th place round robin. Gough and Wright defeated their lower seeded opponents to set up the final. Pushed on by his U.S. teammates late in the fifth game down 9-5, Gough won six straight points to clinch the title.
“I’m elated to win another World Masters title,” Gough said. “The first title was sweet, however the second is without doubt even sweeter considering the advancement of age! I will certainly enjoy the immense feeling of satisfaction for some time to come, perhaps even until the World Masters in 2024.”
The oldest player in the tournament at the age of eighty-three, the Atlanta native exemplifies the notion that squash is a sport for life.
“My U.S. teammates were a tremendous boost, especially when I needed it most in the fifth game,” Gough added. “I am truly grateful for their encouragement, coaching and belief in my ability to pull off the win. Their support was a great testament to the U.S. squash community camaraderie as a whole. Always good to have people around you know have your back. It means the world to me to have the support of my family, my squash family and friends while I continue the pursuit of my dreams. Without a doubt my achievements are in no small measure a tribute to all of them and I thank them profusely for their part in my success.”
Gough praised the host city and atmosphere of one of the sport’s most unique and diverse events.
“After many cancelled tournaments every player seemed excited to be part of this event,” Gough said. “The turnout from near and far was tremendous especially given the present day travel nightmares. The planning and location were terrific and certainly added to the buzz of enjoyment around the tournament. Many old friends together again and loving being in beautiful Wroclaw, happy times indeed.”
In the 75+ division, U.S. champion Bert Kornyei fulfilled his 5/8 seeding, ending his tournament by winning the 7th place playoff.
In the 60+ division, Richard Millman lost just one match against eventual champion Willie Hosey in the quarterfinals, and won his way through the 5-8 playoff to record a fifth place finish. 9/16 seed Tony Brettkelly also only lost once all tournament against two-time U.S. Masters champion and Barbados native Mark Sealy in the round of sixteen, who would go on to claim the bronze medal. The California-based Brettkelly then pulled together three wins to win the 9-16th place playoff.
Canadian and U.S. Masters champion Steve Wren pulled off a quarterfinal upset over a 3/4 seed and placed fourth in the 55+ division.
In the 50+ division, both 5/8 seed John Musto and 3/4 seed Richard Chin fulfilled their seedings, falling against Ireland’s champion and top seed David Ryan in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. Chin would go on to reach the podium, defeating Sweden’s 5/8 seed in a five-game bronze medal match, while Musto placed sixth.