April 30 - The Gran Canaria Arena will host its first top-level match tomorrow when Gran Canaria take on Barcelona in a Spanish League clash to mark the official opening of the venue following a revamp ahead of this year's International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup.
The new-look arena will have a capacity of 9,700 and will be the base for all Group D matches at the Basketball World Cup, due to take place between August 30 to September 14.
African champions Angola, Australia, Lithuania, Mexico, Slovenia and South Korea are set to do battle at the venue during the competition.
Tomorrow night's match will also have a real international flavour as both Barcelona and Gran Canaria have a number of players set to take part in the Basketball World Cup, including Croatians Ante Tomic and Mario Hezonja, Slovenia's Erazem Lorbek and Bostjan Nachbar, Brazilian Marcelinho Huertas and Brad Newley of Australia.
Two players from the Spanish national team will also be on show, Juan Carlos Navarro and Xavi Rey, while the Dominican Republic's Eulis Baez is looking forward to getting out on court at the new venue in the colours of Gran Canaria.
"I believe the change [to the new arena] is going to be great," said Baez.
"It is an arena of the first level.
"To play here is going to be a delight.
"I haven't stepped onto a court like this before in Spain.
"It's a wonderful court and we'll enjoy it.
"We'd enjoy it more if we start winning here."
Gran Canaria currently lie fifth in the Spanish League with 17 wins and 11 losses while visitors Barcelona are third with a record of 21 wins and seven defeats.
Spanish head coach Juan Antonio Orenga will be watching the game to keep an eye on the form of his own players and said he is looking forward to being able to compete at the new arena.
"The Gran Canaria Arena is a premier venue in every way," Orenga said.
"Both in the level of architectural design, atmosphere and sound.
"It will be a pleasure to play here."
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