Hong Kong's next generation of paddlers staked a claim for the future as they beat North Korea 3-1 in the fifth-to-eighth-place play-off at the Asian Championships yesterday. Following a 3-1 defeat by Japan in the quarter-finals, Hong Kong rested their two top players - former mainlanders Tie Yana and Jiang Huajin - and sent in a team of home-grown talents: Lee Ho-ching, Ng Wing-lam and Yu Kwok-see. And the trio, who are all making their debuts in Macau, responded to the occasion to score the team's first win of the tournament. Nineteen-year-old Lee, who upset world No11 Sayaka Hirano of Japan the previous night, was again the hero, scoring two points for Hong Kong with her victories over Korean No1 Kim Jong and Kim Hye-song, while Ng also beat also Kim Hye-song, with Yu suffering the only defeat. 'The victory over Hirano has boosted my confidence,' said Lee. 'I only slept for two hours after the win as I was so excited, but today my condition was still fine. Kim Jong is a strong player, but did not perform to her best. Perhaps she was under too much pressure as on paper she had a good chance of beating me.' Coach Li Huifen said she needed to prepare for the future and was happy the young charges did not let her down. 'Tie and Jiang are not young any more and it won't be too far away before I use the youngsters,' said the coach. 'The Koreans are not a bad team, but maybe they were caught by surprise in facing a Hong Kong team without Tie and Jiang. 'Lee is enjoying a good run after her victory over Hirano and today she looked resolute. Ng was a bit tense in the beginning as this was her first match for the senior team, but she was able to overcome a slow start. 'She has shown very good form during training and it did not surprise me she made it in her debut. Yu was leading two games, but was then too eager to win and blew the chance. But it doesn't matter as she needs to go through a long learning curve.' Hong Kong will meet Taiwan today and Li may field both Tie and Jiang as they need to finish either fifth or sixth to avoid playing in the preliminaries next time. In the men's team event, Hong Kong will meet Singapore today in the 5th-8th play-off and coach Chan Kong-wah was upbeat about their chances. 'We have a good record against the Singaporeans and also they have a weak third singles. If we can maintain our form, there shouldn't be a big problem,' said the coach.