A pensioner has defeated competitors half his age by winning gold at a world karate tournament.

Sri Lankan Sellathurai Ganeshalingam, known to his vanquished foes as Ganesh, carried home the award from the 22nd International Karate Championships in Indiana.

The 62-year-old retired financial adviser, said: “I never thought I would win gold. I thought I would be retired by this age.

“When I won, the instructor told his students ‘no more excuses that you are old’.”

Mr Ganeshalingam, started karate in Sri Lanka during a bank strike at the age of 23.

But when he came to England in 1990 and settled in Rodney Road, New Malden, with his wife Rajini, 53, his hobby took off.

He said: “When I came to this country I went and saw a karate tournament and thought ‘I could beat them’.

“I always wanted to do something and get in the Guinness World Records but I have always been working and never had time.

“Now I have been retired for the past two years I have been training morning and evening every day.”

His daughter Ahila, 30, said: “It is only late in life that he has been able to live his dream and that is why we are so proud of him.”

Zoe West, operations manager at Top Notch Gym in Blagdon Road, New Malden, said: “I didn’t know he was doing all that. I have seen him exercising and practicing his moves in the studio but I unaware he did the tournament.

“He is here bright and early in the morning.”

Mr Ganeshalingham also teaches karate at the British Academy of Shotokan Karate, which has also run Bo staff courses at Southborough School and Coombe Boys’ School.