The India No. 3 is happy to return to Maharashtra State Men’s Squash tournament after missing out last year.
Bombay Gym is one of my home clubs: Mangaonkar
Mahesh Mangoankar came all the way from Europe to participate in the 43rd Maharashtra State Men’s Squash tournament that got underway at Bombay Gymkhana squash courts from Monday. The 24-year-old has been a regular at the tournament from his sub-junior days but missed last year due to prior engagements.
But this year he has returned to the tournament as the top seed. He has played his most squash at Cricket Club of India but he also considers Bombay Gymkhana as his home club.
In his first match on Monday, Mangaonkar progressed by ousting Ch Arun Kumar in straight sets 11-0, 11-2, 11-4. Kumar had earlier defeated Yashraj Bhargava 11-6 11-7 11-5 in the morning session.
“I have shifted my base to Holland for now where I am training since three years. Bombay Gymkhana is one of my home clubs so I can’t miss the chance to play here. Last year I couldn’t play in this tournament but this year I am looking forward to win the title,” he said.
The state championship offers a total prize-money fund of Rs 5,25,000. The winner of the men’s event stands to become richer by rs 1,30,000, while the runner-up will get Rs 75,000.
Many who have watched Mangaonkar grow up as a player at Cricket Club of India and Bombay Gymkhana know his frequent on court seesaw battles with his friend Abhishek Pradhan. They are anticipating mouth-watering final between the duo after a long time but Mangaonkar isn’t sure about the progress of Pradhan who had shifted from Mumbai to Chennai and then US before returning to the base.
“We enjoyed playing with each other but later he kind of stopped training. We played last in 2016 nationals where I beat him. We have trained together and he told me he has made good progress. I hope to play with him but before that he may face stiff opposition especially from (third seed) Gaurav Nandrajog,” he said.
Pradhan who was seeded 4-5 upset the top seed on way to the final before losing to Aditya Jagtap. This year he has been awarded second seeding.
Mangaonkar who is part of four-member Indian squash team for the Asian Games will later move to Chennai for a training camp ahead of the quadrennial games starting in Jakarta from August 18. The Asian Games 2014 team gold medallist has couple of $10K tournaments lined up after the Asian Games as the Borivali resident holding current world ranking of 67 aims to re-enter in top 50.