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Kim and Kong are redefining girl power at YONEX All England

Kim and Kong are known for their upbeat behaviour on court but displayed their feisty side in the quarter-finals
Kim and Kong are known for their upbeat behaviour on court but displayed their feisty side in the quarter-finals (Yohan Nonotte/Badmintonphoto)

Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong have brought a new meaning to girl power in their run to the semi-finals of the YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships 2024.

The defending women’s doubles champions turned up the heat in their quarter-final win over Zhang Shu Xian and Zheng Yu.

The third seeds came from behind to triumph 15-21 21-18 21-18 and by the deciding game, they were vociferously cheering every point they won.

“We weren’t conscious of how we were expressing our happiness,” Kim said.

“Maybe it came across as a bit of an exaggeration to fans.

“We wanted to come across as girly but maybe it didn’t come through!”

Kong added: “During the first game, obviously, we weren’t performing well enough, so we felt quite apologetic.

“But from the second game, our performance was coming back and with the cheers and support from the crowds, I think that created the added energy.”

Kim and Kong will meet their compatriots, the World No.2 pairing Baek Ha Na and Lee So Hee in the third game of semi-finals day.

Baek and Lee are yet to drop a game to set up a rematch of the 2023 final in Birmingham which will be the fifth international meeting between the pairs with the higher-ranked pair leading three to one.

And despite being the defending champions, Kim and Kong explained exactly how emotional their last-eight victory was to them.

“It was so sweet that I almost burst into tears. There were moments where we hit the wall but then in overcoming those it felt really sweet,” Kong said.

Kim added: “We have bits of ups and downs, a bit of lows in recent months but to be able to compete well at the All England again feels great and because it is at the All England, it is even more meaningful.”

And while the pair are redefining what girly means, they are also playing up to the trope from the 1990s when girl bands ruled the world and rumours swirled about whether bandmates actually liked each other.

Kong joked: “We only pretend to be really close.”

“Only when the camera is on or just right before we enter the court,” Kim added, with the pair far too in sync for anyone to believe it is true.

Be part of All The Action at the All England. Tickets are still available at allenglandbadminton.com. Can’t be in Birmingham this week? You can still see badminton’s most prestigious tournament play out on BBC Sport and TNT Sports. Don’t miss a minute!