Mahesh Mangaonkar is back on the squash court, as sporting activity resumed in Helsinki following a relaxation of lockdown restrictions.
The 26-year-old Indian is working with the Finland Squash Federation as sparring partner for national team members and is among early pros to get a taste of sporting action. He has begun training with the Finns, after focusing on fitness during the past lonely months.
Chomping at the bit
“Everyone has been waiting to get on court or get to the gym and break a good sweat,” he said in a chat from Helsinki.
World No. 49 Mangaonkar plays in the European club leagues and shifted base from The Hague (Netherlands) to Helsinki after accepting the Finland offer.
The current Indian National men’s squash champion spars with the Finland team at the Taihialli Squash Club, incidentally one of the clubs he plays for in the European league.
“Every venue had rules like not more than 10 people in the gym or facility, hand sanitisation and disinfecting gym equipment. We all followed the protocol. Now there are fewer restrictions. This doesn't mean the pandemic is over. We still need to keep following those rules until there is a cure,” he said.
Professional sport, already hurt by the freeze on major competitions and ban on spectators, should be ready for future stoppages, Mangaonkar said.
“We are expecting the second wave during fall (October-November). People here are prepared for it,” he said.
Squash pros he trains with include Olli Tuominen, Greg Gaultier and Paul Coll.