Relations between India and Canada had reached their nadir during September-October, 2023 after the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had publicly implicated India in the killing of Khalistani separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June 2023 outside a Gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia.
World champions India cruised to a 48-19 win over Kenya to pick their second successive win and lead group A in the Kabaddi Masters Dubai here today.
The most expensive kabaddi player Monu Goyat, who was sold for Rs 1.51 crore in the Pro Kabaddi League earlier this year, made a splendid debut picking 10 raid points.
On a day India captain Ajay Thakur looked lackluster, it was a tale of another debutant as Rishank Devadiga stole the show with his 13 raid points to hand India an easy win.
The Haryana Steelers player Goyat looked brilliant with his raids as despite a strong Kenyan defence he managed to get over the line.
Thakur gave India the first point before Goyat straightway got into action to give a 2-0 lead.
But gradually Kenyans got into the groove confusing Indian defence to earn seven points inside 10 minutes. The Ajay Thakur-led Indians however ensured that it does not get worse with Deepak Hooda doubling up as a raider.
Thakur looked a bit lacklustre as he gave more opportunity to in-form Rishank Devadiga and Hooda to get their campaign back on track as India led 27-9 at the break.
It was a slow start to the second half as both teams could score just five points.
Mosambayi got another raid point for Kenya in the 26th minute as they trailed 12-30. Goyat came up with a moment of individual brilliance and scored with a four-point raid in the 28th minute to give India 34-12 lead.
India inflicted the third all out of the match to lead 37-12 with just over 10 minutes remaining.
India asserted their supremacy in the match as they scored 12 straight points to open up a commanding 30-point lead.
Kenya then scored much-needed points with a successful raid and tackle but still trailed 15-44 after 36 minutes. Devadiga produced a super raid in the 38th minute to give India 47-15 lead.
In the last minute Kenya scored with a two-point raid but came up short against a much superior Indian side.
The match was attended by chief administrative secretary ministry of sports, government of Kenya, Hassan Noor Hassan who strongly pitched for kabaddi’s inclusion in the Olympics.