Hiko Tonosa becomes first asylum seeker to win Irish senior athletics title
Ethiopian-born Tonosa takes the National 10km road race at Dublin’s Phoenix Park
Athletics Ireland deputy president John Cronin (L) with mens medallists Declan Reed (bronze), Hiko Tonosa (gold) and Kevin Dooney (silver). Photograph: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Hiko Tonosa has become the first asylum seeker to win an Irish senior athletics title with victory in the National 10km road race at a windswept Phoenix Park.
The Ethiopian-born Tonosa, who has been in the asylum process in Ireland since 2017 and is a resident at Hatch Hall Direct Provision Centre in Dublin, came home four seconds clear from Kevin Dooney from Raheny, the reigning national senior cross country champion.
Running in the colours of Dundrum South-Dublin, which Tonosa first joined in the summer of 2017, it continued an excellent run of form, Tonosa also winning the Dunboyne Road Race in Meath last Sunday week. Last year he was the overall men’s winner of the Kia series of road races, which aims to improve the standard of road running. Clocking 30:41 at the finish, Tonosa sat on Dooney for much of the race, before striking for the win close the to finish, Dooney clocking 30:44 in seconds, with Declan Reed from City of Derry Spartans producing a fine run for third in 31:07, also the lead over-45 male athlete.
Staged in conjunction with The Great Ireland Run, Catherina Mullen from Metro-St Brigid’s also won her first national title with victory in the women’s race in 34:52, holding off Barbara Cleary (Donore Harriers) in second in 35:18, with Grace Lynch (Iveragh) in third in 35:33.
Tonosa first ran in the colours of DSD in September 2017, when winning of the Star of the Sea Senior Men’s Cross-County race in Stamullen, Co. Meath. Prior to coming to Ireland he also spent some time racing in Japan, having left Ethiopia prior to that.
Great Ireland Run (Athletics Ireland National 10km)
Men: 1. Hiko Tonosa (DSD) 30:41, 2. Kevin Dooney (Raheny Shamrock) 30:44, 3. Declan Reed (City of Derry Spartans) 31:07
Women: 1. Catherina Mullen (MSB) 34:52, 2. Barbara Cleary (Donore Harriers) 35:18, 3. Grace Lynch (Iveragh) 35:33