Seven athletes -- Sudha Singh (3000m steeplechase), Preeja Sreedharan (5000m and 10,000m), O P Jaisha (1500m and 5000m), Lalita Babbar (3000m steeplechase), Suresh Kumar and Rahul Kumar Pal (both in 10,000m) and Sushma Devi (800m) -- are leaving for Incheon for the final phase of preparation for the Games, starting on September 19.

The athletics events begin on September 27.

The contingent under Belarusian coach Nikolai Snesareva includes six long distance runners and one middle distance runner in Sushma. The team will also be accompanied by Anzhelika Snesareva as masseur.

"I am confident that all the athletes will clock their best performances at the Asian Games. During my previous tenure, I had spent almost five years in preparation for 2010 Asian Games. This time, I did not have that luxury but we have made the best utilisation of the camp. We received help from several quarters, including people from Ooty where the athletes trained," Nikolai said.

He sought to reason out why some of his long distance runners were not Asian leaders this season, saying that they had to compete in conditions which were not best conducive for good results.

"I Lucknow (during the National Inter-State Championships in June), competitions were held under 45 degrees heat and 80 per cent humidity. I think the athletes did well under those conditions," he said, while refusing to blame the Athletics Federation of India for that.

"My wards will do much better in the better climatic conditions in Incheon. Their camp at high altitude and cooler Ooty will also help," he added.

AFI said that the cost for the advance acclimatisation with an aim to better performance in the Asian Games will be borne by the government.

"It has been planned more than two months back and all the cost for this advance acclimatisation will be borne by the Sports Ministry," AFI Chief Operating Officer Manish Kumar said.

The athletes will reach Incheon tomorrow and they will undergo training and acclimatisation at a centre which is two and a half kilometre away from their accommodation. The team will shift to the Games Village on September 13.

3000m steeplechaser Sudha Singh, who will be defending her title, said, "We have been training continuously under Nikolai since February at our Ooty camp. All of us are ready to fight for medals at Incheon. There is no question of being apprehensive of any competition that comes our way."

Preeja Sreedharan, who won a gold in 10,000m and a silver in 5000m in 2010, said she was looking forward to a good show in Incheon despite struggling for some time.

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