Kenya's Abel Kirui has pulled out of the world athletics championships in Moscow due to a persistent leg injury, the two-time world marathon champion said on Saturday.

The 31-year-old Olympic silver medallist, who was included in a six-man provisional list for Moscow despite the injury in May, was aiming to become the first Kenyan to win three consecutive world titles after previous successes in Berlin in 2009 and Daegu two years ago.

Kirui sustained a stress fracture of his right shin while in training for the London marathon in April and the injury, which has severely hampered his training preparations, has been slow to heal.

"I was hoping to have recovered in time for Moscow but my doctor has now advised me that it will take another six weeks for the injury to heal. This is very disappointing," Kirui said.

Kirui won his first world title in Berlin four years ago, setting a world championship record of 2:06.54 and easily retained the title in Daegu, well ahead of fellow Kenyan, Vincent Kipruto.

Kirui's withdrawal leaves world 25km record holder and Tokyo marathon champion Dennis Kimetto to spearhead Kenya's challenge in the men's marathon in Moscow in August.

Other members of the provisional squad include the reigning Paris marathon champion Peter Some, Mike Kipyego, Bernard Koech and Bernard Kipyego.

The women's team will be led by the Olympic and world marathon silver medallist Priscah Jeptoo, who is also the current London marathon champion.