David Beckham On Hopes For British Sport

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David Beckham On Hopes For British Sport
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David Beckham is already hailing this as another great British sporting summer of success following the Lions victory and Murray's Wimbledon win - and he is determined to inspire more sporting stars of the future to ensure the Olympic Legacy lives on.

Two months after retiring from professional football, his schedule is as busy as ever. This past week took him from China to Singapore then Manchester.

I caught up with him at a school in Bedford where his role as a Sky Ambassador saw him paying a surprise visit to the winners of a sports project which aims to transform children's lives.

The former England captain told me about his decision to focus on encouraging the next generation.

He said: "I'm very proud of what I've done in my career, so to be able to do this and give back to our future sporting heroes - it's something very special for me."

A year on from the Olympics, it was hoped the legacy would boost the numbers of young people taking up sport.

A survey by the Smith Institute earlier this year however found just 11% of primary teachers and 8% of secondary teachers had seen an increase in sport participation since the Games last year.

With his key role in the Olympics, was he disappointed the legacy had not lived up to expectations?

"I think the way we ran that Olympics, the way we were involved in, for me, one of the most successful Olympics that there has been, in a part of London where I grew up - that was very special," he said.

"And we will keep that legacy going, because that's what we do."

Prompted by figures that a third of children are classed as overweight or obese, it seems the sporting focus in schools is about to change.

Plans by the Education Secretary Michael Gove are set to bring back competitive sports, something Beckham says he backs as long as it supports children of all abilities.

"Competitiveness is really important in children's lives, it has to be fair," he said.

"My boys go to a school which is very competitive, but at the same time encourages children.

"If you haven't been competitive from a young age, that can affect how you go on to act in later life. And it's vital that kids are healthy, fit and eat the right things.

"What I'm doing here is not just about encouraging people to be great sportsmen and women, it's about staying healthy in life."

It seems his own family practises what he preaches, as when I asked if Victoria ever joined in the kick-arounds in their garden, he says she gets an early start when it comes to exercise.

He said: "Victoria is up at 6.30 every morning running - and Harper sits there and watches her.

"The boys are always out doing stuff, being active. I just want them to be happy.

"Of course I'd love one of them to become a football player - it might even be Harper! But I just want them to be happy, healthy and fit."

With four children the former Man Utd star is surely a bit of an expert when it comes to parental advice.

He took the chance to offer his friends, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, his full support ahead of the birth of the royal baby.

He said: "They're going to be amazing parents - because they are so loving towards children.

"William has grown from that young boy into an unbelievable gentleman. And that's a great quality for a father."

Breaking the Beckham tradition of more unusual baby names, he offered his recommendation on naming the new royal arrival.

"David's pretty good ... if it's a boy of course!"

As for the rumours that he could be in line to become the next James Bond, it seems we will not be seeing him just yet on the big screen.

He said: "It's another one of those 'golden-balls' moments that Victoria threw out there.

"But no, it's not true. I've been approached by a few film companies about movies before, but I think I'll stick to what I know best."

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