Frayna wants to become chess ambassador

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Philippines’ first Woman Grandmaster Janelle Mae Frayna (left, seated) and Grandmaster Eugene Torre (standing, far right) during the 24th Shell National Youth Active Chess Championship at the Event Center of SM Megamall. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The Philippines’ first Woman Chess Grandmaster (WGM) Janelle Mae Frayna wants to popularize her chosen sport all over the country as a chess ambassador.

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The 20-year-old Frayna was among the top athletes honored during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Annual Awards Night on Tuesday for earning the WGM title last September during the 42nd World Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan.

“I usually go to different provinces to promote chess. With this recognition, I’m pretty sure I will be able to inspire more players,” Frayna told The Manila Times.

“I want to be a woman chess ambassador here in the country. I also want to change the chess landscape because everyone is thinking that men are dominating chess. I hope for equality and even for women to dominate chess than men.”

He also commended the accomplishments of her compatriot, Asia’s first Grandmaster (GM) Eugene Torre.

“Aside from my award, I’m happy also that Tito Eugene (Torre) received a Lifetime Achievement Award. This is really a great boost not only for myself but also for all chess players. We have our moments.”

Besides Frayna, the other women athletes who were honored by the PSA were Ian Lariba (table tennis), Hidilyn Diaz (weightlifting), Kirstie Elaine Alora (tae kwon do), Mary Joy Tabal (athletics), Marestella Torres-Sunang (athletics) and Josephine Medina (table tennis).

JOSEF T. RAMOS

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