Antonios before a competition

Antonios Tsapatakis: Now people with disabilities can serve in the Police

My daily routine after the accident was a challenge. In 2005, I was successfully admitted to the Greek Police Academy to follow a career as a policeman. However a year later I had an accident and I was forced to end my career because of Greek legislation that required police officers to be able-bodied, a discrimination to those with physical disabilities. This discrimination was not only in the legislation, I noticed problems in my every-day life, like too many obstacles and vehicles in front of ramps for people with disabilities.

I felt a strong need to do something, to prove that we are all equal in this world. People with disabilities are treated as inferior, lesser than, so my goal in life became to fight this discrimination and change attitudes.

It took me 11 years until I could put on the police uniform again. I successfully campaigned to change the law and allow people with impairments to serve in the Greek Police Force. It took a lot of effort, and I suffered many failures but I am proud because I managed to do it, and I did it alone!

My inspiration was the idea itself, that everyone is equal, and the belief I have in myself in being capable. Succeeding felt like winning an Olympic gold medal. It meant we, the people with disabilities, could finally go back to our work and earn a salary.

Today, I work in the traffic division, educating children and adults about road safety. I continued my passion for water polo and competed for the first time in the Paralympics in 2012. I speak to young people at schools and universities about the power of the soul and that we can always choose who we want to be.

My message to anyone who wants to create change is to fight your fears with your dreams!

Discover more

Here are some useful links