The priest who acts as timekeeper in Finsterau

Bernhard Kraus, priest at the local church, volunteers at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Germany. 14 Feb 2017
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A local priest is also acting as the official timekeeper at Finsterau 2017

As well as being an official timekeeper, Bernhard Kraus is also the priest a local church in Finsterau.

ⒸIPC
By IPC

“This event is very important because people from all across the region are coming here to make it a success,”

Everyone knows that volunteers help make the Para sport world go round, but the 2017 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Finsterau, Germany, are developing a reputation for attracting people with an intriguing range of skills.

Bernhard Kraus, who is an official timekeeper at Finsterau 2017, is also the Catholic priest of the local church.

He decided to volunteer at the event to: “Help make it a success and meet people from around the world.

“I am not just a timekeeper but also try to help with everything I can.”

The German priest lived in Salvador, Brazil, for 15 years before returning to his country in 2012.

“That was a marvellous experience for me. I even learned Portuguese nearly perfect,” he said.

Kraus is not only a priest but a social worker, which he said “are two things that complement each other.

“I like helping people and spend time with those in need,” he said.

Volunteering at the World Championships in Finsterau was the logical consequence of the work Kraus has already been doing for years.

“This event is very important because people from all across the region are coming here to make it a success,” he said.

There are nearly 300 volunteers in total involved in the smooth running of the most important competition outside of the Paralympic Winter Games.

“There are people who are spending their holidays working at the Worlds to help with anything which may be needed. That is something very important about this kind of events, they bring out the best inside you,” he said.

“Events like this bring people together. People from around the world gather and share their culture. Everyone here gets to know how people from other countries think. And people from other countries get to know how we think.”

Live results and coverage from the 2017 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships are available at Finsterau2017.com.

Competition will continue on Wednesday (15 February) with the cross-country mixed and open relays.

Right free pictures for editorial use are available for download at Flickr.

Broadcast quality race footage will also available on request by contacting [email protected]

The competition can also be followed on Facebook.com/ParaNordic, Twitter and Instagram (@ParaNordic).