LEGAZPI CITY: Woman Grandmaster (WGM) Janelle Mae Frayna, 20, returned to her hometown Legazpi City on Sunday where she was given a hero’s welcome.
Frayna became the country’s first WGM after her winning run during the 42nd World Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan on September 11.
“I’m so grateful to Mayor Noel Rosal for helping me out all throughout since my childhood days and to date, in this mental and scientific sport. I would like also to express my profound gratitude to my mother for her untiring support,” Frayna said.
“To my coach thank you for believing in me because without you I will not be a grandmaster,” she added, pertaining to her mentor Jayson Gonzales.
Frayna recalled her many difficulties before achieving the WGM title. She said that for so many times, she and her mother were just riding non-aircon buses from Legazpi to Manila, and sleep at the bus terminal whenever she competes in the city.
“Since 2010, I’m taking Saint Jude bus from Bicol to Manila along with my mother and stay for a night at the bus terminal and went to a fast food restaurant to freshen up before heading to the site where the competition is set to be done,” she said.
She urged her fellow chess players to pursue their passion and to stand up despite failures.
“Don’t lose hope continue pursuing your passion and training. Do not let your setback ruin your hope,” Janelle said.
Gonzales told The Manila Times that Frayna’s determination and passion for her sport is exceptional.
“At first I rejected her because she is a woman considering that all chess competitors were males. But I changed my mind when I noticed that she possessed an exceptional determination and passion for chess and willing to be trained unlike others. At age 14, she was reading three substantial compact books even at young age. Now, we are preparing her for world champion competition in 2018 as challenger.”
But before the 2018 world meet, Gonzales said that Frayna would first compete in Europe next year.