David Smith is returning to the World Boccia Championships to defend his title ©Getty Images

Three-time Paralympic gold medallist David Smith and Claire Taggart are the starring names in Britain's nine-member squad for the World Boccia Championships in Rio de Janeiro.

Smith, who is also a reigning world champion, is his country's greatest boccia player having picked up individual titles at Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, in addition to a team gold medal in Beijing in 2008.

At his home Paralympics in London, Smith achieved a silver in his individual event and bronze in the team category.

Smith is due to compete in the individual BC-1 class once more, where he will be looking to retain the world title he won in Liverpool four years ago.

Taggart, meanwhile, sits second in the women's BC-2 rankings and is entering the World Championships having picked up two gold medals on this year's World Cup circuit.

She won the individual BC-2 event and the team discipline, along with Smith and fellow squad member Will Hipwell, in Povoa de Varzim in Portugal.

This year's event will mark the first time in the history of the World Boccia Championships that women will play in a separate individual competition to men.

Claire Taggart is second in the women's BC-2 world ranking ©Getty Images
Claire Taggart is second in the women's BC-2 world ranking ©Getty Images

Paralympians Patrick Wilson, Stephen McGuire and Louis Saunders have also been included in Britain's squad alongside Will Arnott, Robyn McBride and Fiona Muirhead.

The World Boccia Championships, set to take place between December 3 and 14, is the sport's biggest event since the Paralympics and is due to deliver ranking points for Paris 2024 qualification.

"It will certainly be our toughest test since the Tokyo 2020 Games and the team is confident they can take positive performances from International Challenger events and World Cups this year into the worlds," Boccia UK performance director Greg Baker said.

"The athletes have shown their competitiveness across the world stage this year and are excited to take this momentum into Rio.

"Likewise, it's a chance for all the athletes and staff to take stock, understand where we are as a programme and understand where we need to get to with Paris 2024 fast approaching."