Citation to John Leiba
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When John Leiba left St Jago in 1967, he vowed to make athletics at Monk Street a model of performance and achievement. Fiercely loyal, he has spearheaded the school's drive to the forefront of high school athletics through coaching, forward planning and funding.
Like fellow 2014 Sports Day Honouree Horace 'Maggie' Brown, he competed at Champs for St Jago. In his final year, John Leiba reached the final of the Open Mile placing fourth. Even as he studied law, he began studying the science of athletics and soon he and his like-minded colleagues began planning the rise of St Jago athletics.
With this St Jago patriarch guiding, the plans soon began to bear fruit. Patrick Roxborough and Michael Feurtado set Champs records from 800 to 3000 metres, with Patrick winning titles at 800 and 1500 metres. Michael later dominated inter-collegiate middle distance running and set durable national records at the 5000 and 10,000 metres.
Those records were elevated by another St Jago product Mark 'Yifter' Elliot. Again with Sir Leiba directing affairs, Mark won the 1985 Champs 5000 in record time. Anthony Johnson, Mark Prince, Mike Williams, Mike Williams, Eaton Evans and Orville Clarke have all won at Champs thanks to Sir John's solid advice.
Along the way, he has galvanised fundraising efforts to give St Jago athletics the nutrition, equipment and coaching to compete well. This mix has helped St Jago to two Boys Champs titles and four Girls Champs titles.
Walk into his office at the esteemed law firm Dunn, Cox and Orrett, and you see a reminder of a proud moment in St Jago athletics history. At the Penn Relays in 1990, his team of Carlton Allen, Mark Lucas, Evans and Williams set a 4x800 record - 7 minutes 35.89 seconds - that lasted for two decades.
Most recently, he took his fundraising work to a new level by forming the St Jago Foundation.
The St Jago Past Students and former Jamaica Bar Association President is himself an example of Labor Omnia Vincit and triumph of the right blend of sport and study. For all these achievements and the inspiration he gives to students past and present, St Jago salutes John Leiba on Sports Day 2014.