Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev has attended a ceremony celebrating his country's sporting achievements in 2016 ©

The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, has attended a ceremony dedicated to celebrating the country's sporting achievements in 2016.

During the year, Azerbaijan enjoyed their most successful Olympic Games in its independent history in Rio de Janeiro in August.

They earned a total of 18 medals comprising of one gold, seven silvers and ten bronzes.

The head of state, who is also the President of the Azerbaijan National Olympic Committee, made a speech at the event prior to the award-giving ceremony at the NOC's headquarters.

Aliyev then presented "Honoured Worker of Physical Culture and Sport" awards to Tarverdi Allahverdiyev, Chingiz Eyvazov, Seymur Ahadov, Vagif Feyzullayev, Oleg Krapivin, Firudin Gurbanov, Hamid Mammadyarov and Bahruz Salehli for their contributions throughout the year.

Abas Azimov and Gahraman Mammadyarov were also winners as they received certificates of "individual pensions of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan" for their significant contribution to the development of sport in the country.

Aliyev also presented the NOC's "Olympic Order" to Rio 2016 over-80 kilogram taekwondo champion Radik Isayev, and international referee Hijran Sharifov, for their professionalism at the Rio Olympics.

During the ceremony President Aliyev handed out a number of awards ©
During the ceremony President Aliyev handed out a number of awards ©

Honorary diplomas were given to Nurlan Aslanov, Bakhtiyar Abbasov, Ayaz Mammadov and Vasif Ismayilov.

Shamsi Bayramov, Ramal Aslanov, Adil Aliyev, Zaur Akhundov, Nariman Guliyev and Emin Hajiyev also all received the award for their "outstanding contribution to development of non-Olympic sports in Azerbaijan".

To conclude the event, members of the NOC's Executive Committee, as well as famed artist Zarifa Salakhova, presented keepsakes to the President and wished him success in his future activities.