Mahesh Mangaonkar is an Indian squash player based out of Helsinki, Finland. Apart from being the first Indian to win the IMET Open, he was part of the Indian men’s national squash team that won gold medals in the 2014 and 2023 Asian Games.
Mahesh Mangaonkar was born on Wednesday, 23 March 1994 (age 29 years; as of 2023) in Mumbai, Maharashtra. His zodiac sign is Aries. In September 2021, he pursued a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Häme University of Applied Sciences, Hämeenlinna, Southern Finland. In May 2023, he joined CalevaLAB as a thesis student.
Height (approx.): 5′ 10″
Weight (approx.): 75 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Mahesh Mangaonkar’s father’s name is Dayanand, and his mother’s name is Anjali.
Wife & Children
In February 2023, he got married to Maarit, a social worker from Finland.
Mahesh dated Maarit for six years, before getting married to her.
In 2009, he won the prestigious British Junior Open squash championship in the Under-15 category. In January 2012, he was inducted as a professional athlete into the Professional Squash Association (PSA), a global governing body responsible for the administration of both men’s and women’s professional squash worldwide. At the age of 18 years, he made his debut in a PSA World Tour and made it significant by defeating his opponent, Lucas Serme, in the finals and winning his first title at the Prague Open in the Czech Republic. In an interview after the 2-hour match, he said,
It was brutally hard and excruciatingly long. I’m totally dead. This was definitely the number one match for me.”
In 2013, he participated in the PSA World Tour Challenger 5 event held in Bratislava, Slovakia and defeated the two-time champion Jan Koukal of the Czech Republic in the semi-finals. He then defeated the defending champion Greg Lobban of Scotland in a nailbiting final, earning him the title of the first Indian to win the IMET Open. During an interview, while talking about winning the game, he said,
I was happy to win the third, rested a bit in fourth and fought back in fifth. Squash is also a mental game and I gave it all I had in the final game.”
In 2014, he was a member of the Indian men’s national squash team; Saurav Ghosal, Kush Kumar, and Harinder Pal Sandhu were the other members of the team. The team bagged the gold medal by defeating Malaysia in the finals at the 2014 Asian Games held in Incheon, South Korea. In January 2015, he achieved a World rank of 44, his career’s highest ranking. In 2016, he participated in the Sekisui Open, a Professional Squash Association event held in Kriens, Switzerland, and defeated Bernat Jaume of Spain in the finals. In June 2019, he won the 76th Senior National Squash Championship held in Pune by defeating Abhishek Pradhan with a comfortable winning score of 12-10, 11-7, 11-9.
In 2022, he was allowed to participate in the Finnish National Championship after having lived in Finland for more than 3 years and became the Finnish National Champion. In the 2022 PSA World Tour, he gave one of the best performances of his career in the very first match and made it to the top 16 of a platinum event.
In 2023, he was a member of the Indian men’s national squash team; Saurav Ghosal, Harinder Pal Sandhu, and Abhay Singh were the other members of the team. The team bagged the gold medal by defeating Pakistan in the finals at the 2022 Asian Games held in Hangzhou, China.
In an interview, he talked about his win at the 2022 Asian Games and said,
I was extremely upset, losing to Naseer Iqbal. It was nerve-wrecking. Winning gold was a proud moment for me, the team and for Indian squash. We had a tough draw in the pool stages, but managed to come through. Unfortunately, we lost to Pakistan in the pool stages and that kind of motivated us to do well in the final. It was a good retaliation and revenge for us. Special thanks to Saurav [Ghosal] for being a great leader. He has been an inspiration to juniors including myself.”
- In February 2019, Mahesh Mangaonkar won the prestigious Shiv Chhatrapati Award constituted by the Maharashtra government for excellence in sports.
- In September 2020, he joined Crossfit, Finland as a Level 1 trainer.
- In June 2022, he joined the Finnish Squash Association as a part-time coach of the Men’s national team.
- He is a professional sparring player associated with many national federations around Europe.
- He plays for 8 different clubs in the Dutch league, English league, Czech league, Swedish league, Finnish league, Italian league, German league, and French league.
- His squash coach, Sebastian Weenik, is a Dutch national coach, and his fitness coach, Pierre Macon, is a CrossFit regional athlete from France.
- He is the Head of Sports at the Norges Squashforbund, Oslo, Norway.
- According to him, his mother has been his biggest supporter. In an interview, while talking about his mother, he said,
Life has been difficult and there have been times when I’ve felt like giving up when things were not going my way. Each time my mother was there to remind me of my worth as a human being. My mother encouraged me to keep reaching for the unreachable and never settle for anything less than I deserved.”
- According to him, his favourite food is Prawn curry and grilled chicken cooked by his mother.
- He moved to Europe at the age of 19 and has lived there since then.
- Mahesh Mangaonkar’s dream is to be a part of the Olympics and win a medal. In October 2023, the International Olympic Committee officially recommended the inclusion of squash in the 2028 Olympic Games. In an interview, while talking about his dream, he said,
I have a couple of years left before I take a call on retirement. Since squash will be included in the 2028 Olympics, I do want to take a shot at an Olympic medal. I surely want to play one more Asian Games. I want to push myself and be fit till the LA Games in order to fulfil my dream of being a part of the Olympics and winning a medal there. I will be 34 then, so hoping for the best.”
- In February 2020, he underwent surgery to cure his knee injury caused due to overuse of the knee and overtraining. The injury was caused in 2018, but the pain significantly increased after the 2019 Tournament of Champions in New York.
- According to him, the most dangerous thing he’s ever done is climb the 6150m peak in Leh.