Mahesh Mangaonkar, one of the most promising players on the Indian squash circuit, is very clear about his expectations from the Commonwealth Games.He is purely taking it as a great opportunity to gain experience so that he can do well in the future Games
“It is my first Commonwealth Games and I certainly feel progressing beyond the first round would be an achievement for me,” says the Mumbai lad, modestly. “I want to make the most of this opportunity,” the 20-year-old admitted to TOI recently.
Mangaonkar says being unseeded in Glasgow means he may get a chance to play one of the top-seeded players in the first round itself.
“Running into one of the top players would be very exciting. I’m looking forward to it,” said World No. 70.Mangaonkar has no fear of playing against the top players though:
“Seeding matters, but I don’t really look at the seedings. I see it as just one player against another,” he explains. “I just focus on my game and what I am going to do. How and which corner I am going to hurt my opponent. For me it is important to focus on how I’m going to execute my plans,” he says.
Shifting his base to Belgium to train under Australian great Shaun Moxham, while juggling between squash and studies, has helped Mangaonkar:
“Certainly, I’m a better player now and full credit goes to Moxham,” he says and reveals that the partnership has netted three Professional Squash Association titles and two runners-up spots. “I am doing my first year B.Com through correspondence from New Delhi and I carry my books whenever I go to play at any event. I try to give both sincere attention,” he says.
The youngest member of the Indian squash team feels education is a must as it serves as a handy back-up option in case of bad times.
“Squash, like any other sport, is injury prone. I don’t know what the future holds for me in squash. If I fail than I need something to fall back on post squash. That is why I’m very serious about studies,” he added