Soccer superstar David Beckham has heaped praise on the athletes competing in the 2012 Paralympic Games ahead of the Opening Ceremony in London on Wednesday (29Aug12).
The British ace hailed the "guts and determination" of the thousands of physically disabled competitors gearing up to take part in the sporting event, which follows the Olympic Games in the U.K. capital.
Beckham donned a blindfold to spend a day training with Great Britain's Paralympics soccer squad last November (11), and admits the experience left him in awe of the talented team and made him feel "proud to be British".
In a column for Britain's Daily Mirror, he writes, "I've been playing football all my life, but I was really out of my comfort zone... I left there absolutely amazed at the incredible level of skill and concentration needed to perform at the highest level of blind football.
"They are a real testament to the quality of all our Paralympic athletes - across all sports. And the character and determination they show by doing this every single day makes me proud to be British.
"It's hard for any sportsman or woman to get to the top of their game but I marvel at the guts and dedication it must take if you are born with a disability - or become disabled through accident or injury. And as parents blessed with four healthy children, Victoria and I are humbled by the strength and energy of mums and dads who encourage their disabled children to take up sports. It can involve real hardship and sacrifice - but there is no greater life lesson you can give your kids than to be the very best you can."