MOSCOW, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- Gold medal won by a Russian female gymnast at London Olympics has been "long awaited," Russian Sports Minister said Monday.
"Here is a long-awaited gold in sports gymnastics! I congratulate Aliya (Mustafina), all the team and Sports Gymnastics Federation," Vitaly Mutko wrote on his Twitter microblog.
The 17-year-old Mustafina scored 16.133 points in women's uneven bars, beating reigning Chinese Olympic champion He Kexin, who took silver with 15.933 points.
This was Russia's first gold medal in gymnastics and first female's gold during the London games.
"This medal was very hard for me (to obtain). Half a year ago yet I didn't believe I could perform on the Games in such a shape," Mustafina told reporters after the match.
Mutko joined the chorus of Russian sports officials who denied the country's Olympic performance has been a failure, after two coaches, in fencing and shooting, resigned over their teams's imperfect performances.
Still, Russia's performance is what it should have been, Mutko said on weekend, claiming Russia would fight back this week.
As of Monday, Russia has five gold, 17 silver and 16 bronze medals in stock.
This breakdown made the President of Russian Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov say on Sunday that Russia has been in a "silver streak." A former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan has collected six gold medals as of Monday, with no silver or bronze.
Zhukov repeatedly said it was unfair to compare Russia's performance with the achievements of the former Soviet team, as Russia now faces strong competitions from its former fellow citizens.
Zhukov said the medals Russia won in the first five days of the Olympic is an achievement showing "we rank among the leading sports countries."
Prior to the 2012 Olympics, Mutko said Russia would strive for third place in the overall medal race, and claimed he was ready to resign if Russia failed.