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Mandhian targets more exposure abroad

Dubai-based squash player feels need to grow fitter

16:18 September 13, 2017

Dubai: Fresh from his exploits in India, promising squash player Maanav Mandhian now wants more exposure in international competitions before the end of this year.

Earlier this month, Dubai-based Mandhian was in Mumbai where he participated in the Ninth Bombay Gymkhana Indian Junior Squash Open and the NSCI Classic India Junior Squash Open. The 18-year-old student from Emirates International School lost 2-3 (10-12, 11-4, 11-9, 12-14, 11-5) in the first round against unseeded Kunal Singh from the National Defence Academy (NDA) in the Bombay Gymkhana Indian Junior Squash Open.

In the NSCI Classic India Junior Squash Open held last week, Mandhian came up with a couple of victories including a 3-2 (10-12, 11-8, 6-11, 11-8, 11-4) against Siddharth Rathore followed by a 3-1 (13-11, 6-11, 11-2, 11-6) against Akash Ashok Kumar. However, Mandhian lost 3-0 (11-8, 11-4, 11-9) in the Round of 16 against fifth seed Rahul Baitha.

“Fitness proved to be my shortcoming in my first game as Kunal and I played for a little more than 70 minutes. I have never been involved in such a long game and towards the end I made a lot of silly mistakes due to fatigue,” Mandhian told Gulf News.

“But it also taught me a vital lesson in what I need to do to get fitter so that I better prepared for such long matches in the future,” he added.

Unseeded in the second competition, Mandhian made it to the Round of 16 before succumbing to fifth-seeded Baitha. “The underdog tag worked well for me. But I also realised how important it is to have a coach travelling along with me. I used to call my coach [Abbas Khan] and send him videos of that I could get some advice before my matches,” he related.

“I feel I am more empowered now after these two tournaments. The immediate priority will be to turn my attention to studies as it’s my final year of school. I need to strike a balance between my academics and squash,” Mandhian said.

“And when I get my next break from school I will travel back to India and participate into another two tournaments at least to continue evolving as a player,” he added.